Hi! I’m a woman who likes to perform stand-up comedy, which as you may have heard is not the most welcoming hobby for a young woman. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that if I have a problem with something in this community, the only effective way to communicate my feelings is through hilarious material that wins over everyone, including people who would have otherwise agreed with me. Are you always one of two women on a line-up of 15 performers? Tell a joke about it! Did that rape joke upset you? You should write an incredibly funny joke about that rape joke that puts it to shame forever! Easy peasy!
This rule is, of course, common knowledge among comedians. Literally no one will ever listen to anything you have to say about comedy if it’s not the funniest thing they’ve ever heard! Duh! But did you know these other, less well-known rules of dissent and critique?
If you have something to say about being black in America, rap about it! The catchier the tune, the catchier the message I always say! Remember, no one cares what you have to say if you’re not rapping!
Do you have a problem with the underrepresentation of Asian actors in television and film? You actually have two options: write a haiku or express yourself through origami. Confucius say: Problem solved!
Have a problem with the gender and race disparities in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Write, direct, star in, and produce a film that will win Best Picture at the Oscars. That’ll show ‘em!
Have you experienced or witnessed sexism in the publishing industry? People would love to have you open their eyes… if you can write an epic poem about it! With an ABBA rhyme scheme. And in iambic pentameter, naturally.
The most important thing to remember is that if you have a critique about a system, industry, or culture, you MUST present it in a way that doesn’t upset those in positions of power and influence! Always present your critique in a way they are comfortable and familiar with. If you’re really lucky, your masterfully constructed critique will entertain them so much, they’ll think it was their idea all along and actually institute change. Good luck, everybody!