Last year I was playing a casino in Oregon while touring Burning Sensation before we filmed it. And I did the joke you see in this video from the special.
Now, this particular town would aptly be described as “hella white”. And during the second show that night an African-American woman came in and sat with her friends at a table right in front of the stage.
This joke doesn’t always fly in mostly white rooms. Which is why I added that tag. A lot of people in towns like this just haven’t ever communicated with black people or spent time with them.
So when I did this joke the black lady in the front laughed… hard… doubled over. Her friends laughed. That spread the laugh to the tables near them and it petered out the further it got away from this one lady in the front row. Best result I could hope for in that room.
After the show she came up to me and said “Thank you for doing that joke tonight. I really needed to hear that. My daughter is in second grade and her school just called me today to say that her hair is distracting the other students and I need to do something about it.”
Curiosity was being mistake for distraction. Instead of using it as a teaching moment for the other students, they wanted this lady to cover up her daughter’s hair or do something else to make it “less distracting”.
I guarantee if it was a little white kid with long hair like me in that second grade class they wouldn’t have said anything.
Her story made me make sure to do this joke in every “hella white” room I play. Because I want to make them curious about the joke. I’ve also had plenty of people come to me after the show to explain it to them. And they’ll say “I had no idea that was a thing!” And then they’ve learned something that night and that makes me happy.
The laughs are great. And creating some curiosity in the world is great too.
If you’d like to see the whole “Burning Sensation” show it’s available on my website for streaming and download or on disc.