I am a racist. And a homophobe.
I didn't think I was until recently but when 3 people have been offended by my material, I decided to do some soul searching and find out why.
And what I found shocked me to my very core. The reason people think I'm bigotted is because I have had the wrong definition of racism. I always believed that racism was a belief that peoples traits and abilities were determined by their race and that certain races were genetically superior. I thought that to be a bigot you had treat people differently because of where they come from, the colour of their skin, their religous beliefs or even their sexuality.
I was wrong.
The first time I was accused of racism was when I was 13. Clayton, a boy in my year in school who happened to be black, spat on me. Naturally my reaction was revenge. I didn't want to beat him up, I just wanted to scare the shit out of him. So I chased after him.He was faster than (not a sterotype, I just wasn't built for speed)and he ran into the sixth form annex and told the sixth formers that I wanted to beat him up because I was a racist.
I was livid, because
1)I didn't want to beat him up
2)If I had wanted to beat him up it would be because he gobbed on me and not due to the colour of his skin.
Then recently it happened again. I was gigging at The drones club in Chapter, a lovely little gig which I help out with and often perform work in progress, sketches and the like.
this night I was trying out some new stuff on fame and the various brushes I've had with it.
I come from a tiny village called Brechfa where the buses only ran twice a weeek, Wednesday and Saturday and was telling a story about when the whole village was asked to be in an advert for British Telecom. With Joanna Lumley.
It was a delightful affair where all the kids were given free cans of pop, as many and as often, as we liked. They later regretted this when it was time for filming when all the tartrazined up kids were relieving themselves behind the hedge.
I'll even admit to having a few Lilts that day and the call of nature was strong...
But I digress. The village had a lack of ethnic diversity and, to stop us from looking like a backward, bigotted sort of community they hired a family of black actors to join the throng. I then said that everyone wanted to be their friends and arguments ensued about whose football team they would join, thus disproving the asumption that all rural communities are full of toothless racists. A positive story I thought. But someone did not agree.
It was at this point that a member of the audience, Phillip, took offence and shouted "Racist!" at me.
Phillip, an intense, amply framed man with a very powerful glower had decided that to mention race at all was racist.
I tried to talk to him but the conversation was cut short by the fact he hurled a pint of beer over me.
I reacted in a split second, and stood there. I was soon soaked with beer, but I remained calm, trying to talk to Phil and still keep the mood light and airy.
He and his friend got disgruntled, shouted a few rude comments and left, only to be escorted off the premises by security and told never to darken Chapters doors again.
I was a little shaken up but continued with my set, but cut it short.
I was surprised by his reaction, but he lost his entrance fee and the price of a beer(quite pricey) so he lost out.
Then two weeks later, also at the Drones, a man took offence at my material and had a go at Clint, shouting at him
"I would expect to here that sort of material at a working mens club, not an arts centre!"
My offense? I used the word 'bummers'. It was innocuous and meant in no harm, but he didn't like it.
So now I'm homophobic AND racist.
The third incident was tonight in Brecon. Clint Edwards,Henry Widdicombe and I were doing a gig in a pub called the Bulls Head in aid of Oxjam, a festival in aid of Oxfam.
Clint and I walked in and were immediately a little worried. There weren't many people in and the comedy would be performed in the bar area, with no seperate room.
Soon though it filled up, leaving it impossible for us acts to get on stage without first walking out of the back of the room, out past the toilets, out the door, out the gate and walk back round to the front of the room.
Clint started MCing and got a lively banter going and some good jokes which got the audience warmed.
Henry was introduced and he did a great set and told everyone about biscuits. the audience were lovely, our fears were alaid. Or so I thought.
A new audience member had joined us, a man who looked like a cross between Nick Cave and Danny Devito, dressed as a camp lemon.
I was doing my shtick about languages and I chanced upon a German lady in the audience and tried my only sentence in German, "Mein Vater ist ein Dudelsackpfeifenspieler und seine Dudelsackpfeifen sind in Schnee bedeckt"
(my father is a bagpipe player and his bagpipes are covered in snow"
I then asked if she wanted to tell me any good german words when Lemon, who I later discovered to be called Paul, chipped in.
"Leave her alone!" he shouted. I explained that the lady could speak for herself. It turns out she didn't want to speak to me but that was by the by.
I continued, talking about my Slovenian friends and how they taught me a song in Slovenian. I started to perform the song 'Yoshke' when he shouted "Racist!" at me.
I was angry and tried to get him explain why talking about some one from a different nation, who speak a different language and then bothering to learn about their culture and language was racist. He responded with "Ooh, you're angry now"
And I was. And I enjoyed it. I unleashed on him, got him to shut the fuck up and just continued with my set by translation of the song into English and revealing that it is called 'Big Tits' adding the phrase "They may have been sexist but I'm not a racist" and got a round of applause.
I felt good about myself and the fact that Paul left when he realised he was the only one who felt like that.
So am I wrong? Is the very mention that someone comes from a foreign country or of someones sexuality( I know I said bummers but all the gay guys I know love the word)or that talking in a foreign language racist?
Or did I just meet three massive twats.