Eddie Griffin: Let’s Laugh About Racism
Comedy is all about making light out of horrible situations. It’s all about relating to your audience. Stand-Up is one of the best reflections of the impacts of culture on society, reflected upon itself as a form of entertainment. Eddie Griffin is an African-American comedian who, if you were to ask him what type of black man he was, he would say “a n*gga”. His stand-up comedy special entitled “Eddie Griffin: You Can Tell ‘Em I Said it” explores racism, sex, politics, religion and many other controversial subjects, all seen from the chill, laid-back perspective of Eddie. In this comedy special, he seems to be speaking for the black culture as a whole, obviously as an attempt to relate to his dominantly African-American audience. He successfully does so, and the roars of laughter from the audience were truly a testament to that.
Once Mr. Griffin takes the stage, he begins to delve into many controversial topics, and twists them into something extremely funny. Griffin cracked a joke about the stereotype that white mothers don’t seem to ever know where their children are, due to the fact that they just let them roam free. Essentially, the stereotype says that white mothers are often negligent when it comes to keeping up with their children. Eddie says that he is “tired of seeing a white kid’s face on his carton of milk”. He exclaimed that his mother would never let him go too far from the house. He then recalls a rather hilarious story from his childhood where his mother said he couldn’t go past the end of the block, and it just so happens that his friend really wants to disobey that rule. Eddie takes a look down the block to see if his mother is looking at him, and she is, with a mean mug too. He swears he could see her mouth the words “I’mma f*ck you up”. Eddie then proceeds to fake a charlie horse in front of his, as to not come off “like a lil’ b*tch.”This joke aids the stereotype that black mothers are more strict, or less fair with their children than white mothers are.
With regards to religion, Eddie Griffin has a few strong opinions. He neglects the image created of God that entails him to be uptight and serious. For example, he says it’s ridiculous for God to forbid unmarried couples to have sex, or how Eddie himself phrases it, for him to “get some p*ssy”. His reasoning behind this is that God made the “p*ssy” in the first place, so what’s the logic in not partaking in it? This joke, as funny as it is, reinforces the stereotype that males are extremely impulsive when it comes to sex. When it comes to the islamic religion, he finds it much too strict for two purposes: “you can’t smoke weed”, and “you can’t get your d*ck sucked by a b*tch that ain’t your wife”. Marijuana is very prevalent throughout most cultures, but stereotypically, it is especially prevalent in African-American culture, and Eddie Griffin pokes fun at this. Either way, it’s not difficult to tell that Mr. Griffin himself is a connoisseur of cannabis. This joke speaks to the stereotype that, instead of attempting to reach a higher spiritual state through religion, an African-American man would much rather just smoke a little weed and get some head; enjoying the more earthly pleasures of life.
Eddie Griffin also pokes fun at the innocent differences between white people and black people. He suggests that the NAACP should change the “colored people” part, due to the fact that white people are the actual colored people. White people turn pink when they blush, blue and purple when you hit them and red when they’re mad. This joke was a very good break from the more heavy and controversial topics that Eddie had previously introduced in this show. Eddie Griffin is a very skilled comedian in the way that he has a really good feel for his audience. He understands what might come across as “too far”, and he is not afraid to dance right along that line.
Mr. Griffin then becomes very persistent with regards to explaining the differences between different pronunciations of the word nigger. If a white person were to say it with the -er ending, it is very much possible that they would be engaged in a physical confrontation with somebody who is rightfully offended. Then again, the idea of a black man becoming overly angry at the use of the word to the point of getting violent is also a common stereotype, and Eddie Griffin’s joke aids this idea. He goes on to bash journalist Dr. Laura for her use of the word; he is offended that she would even wonder why she isn’t allowed to say the word. Eddie Griffin says that white people can’t say the word because their people didn’t go through the same struggles that have been attributed to that word.
Staying on the topic of race, Eddie then brings the conversation to the Chinese culture. He asserts his confusion on how there are 1.6 billion of them when they, as a culture, are extremely (stereotypically) asexual. Eddie then arrives to the conclusion that they must just have extremely fast sex, that neither of them are into, similar to robots in the way that there is no emotion. His joke is extremely funny in the way that, in reality, it would be impossible for them to be asexual as a whole, due to the whopping number of their population and their reproduction rates. Here, Eddie calls out a stereotype that is rooted without any logic whatsoever.
Mr. Griffin then takes a stand against white people that say that this is “their country”. He has a particularly negative view towards this statement, especially with regards to Mexican immigration. Eddie questions how white people have the audacity to call Mexicans wetbacks, considering that they crossed a significantly larger body of water to get to America, so if anything, white people have wetter backs than the Mexicans. This joke was hilarious in the way that it blames white people for being hypocrites. Eddie’s wit took an offensive term and put it right on top of its head, making it knee-slappingly, satisfyingly, hilarious. It’s funny because it’s true; And Mr. Griffin isn’t scared of the truth. Griffin then makes fun of how white people quote on quote “discover” things. Mr. Griffin says that Columbus didn’t discover America, he merely stole it from the Indians. According to the esteemed Washington Post, “Columbus did not set foot in North America”, therefore he couldn’t have “discovered” America. Eddie said with that logic, after the show he’s gonna go “discover” somebody’s car in the parking lot. Putting it into that perspective, it’s really funny to think about Columbus just showing up and claiming a place that other people already have as his. Also, it’s just as funny, if not funnier, imagining Eddie Griffin just copping somebody’s Porsche in the venue’s parking lot.
Eddie Griffin connects to his audience through relatable, controversial, and sometimes just flat out funny topics. From race to sex to religion he covers it all in this comedy special. Mr. Griffin aids the common stereotypes amongst many races, especially his own. Comedy is a healthy place to put a lot of negative energy into, thinking of topics that have a negative and depressing stigma such as racism, and making light of these negative topics in the form of jokes. Eddie Griffin tells it like it is and he doesn’t care who hears it. Just like in the title, “You Can Tell ‘Em I Said It.”