Chicago Reader: Liz Miele Breaks It Down
By Jack Helbig
October 4, 2023
Stand-up used to be a very white man domain. And the jokes you heard there were just the kind you would expect from a world dominated by verbally adept, passive-aggressive—or just plain aggressive—heterosexist white men: dick and sex jokes; ex-girlfriend jokes; racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes; jokes about getting bad service from waiters, baristas, airline personnel, customer service reps with accented English. Generally, anyone perceived to be powerless, or at least weaker, than the annoyed stand-up. Pretty tiresome stuff. And toxic.
But all that changed. God knows, there are still toxic men doing stand-up out there, and toxic man-loving audiences out there to laugh at them. But there are now a lot of non-cis men comics—women comics, comics of color, LGBTQ+ comics, comics who are neurodivergent—who sing a different tune, who don’t just stand there and shoot a stream of bitter, tired punchlines. Who tell stories, recount their lives, and deliver witty, telling critiques of the world.