Out of Captivity….Hope (Progressive Comedy from a Red State)


The timing seemed so right. John Stewart was resigning as host of The Daily Show. I was the perfect replacement – a nebishy Jew with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and penchant for keen political observations. Not only did I have the personality, I had the wherewithal. I was fortunate to have just hit a professional milestone that granted me the time and financial stability to pursue my dreams. I would say Comedy Central did not agree with assessment, but that would suggest I was brave and/or crazy enough to actually contact them. Progressive Comedy

The Comedy Central team in my head was quick to point out I was a completely unrecognized name who had paid no dues and whose need to be in Atlanta at 3 o’clock most afternoons would make my work commute impossible. Well, I guess if dreams come easy, Christie Brinkley would have swung by my high-school sophomore year so we could drive off into the sunset in her Ferrari for a life of passionate adventure. Pro Progressive Comedygressive Comedy

Please excuse the melodramatic title of the post. I cannot compare my situation to anyone who has ever endured physical captivity or even serious intellectual captivity. Both the title of the blog and this article are 90% snark 10% message. As a smart-ass progressive with a healthy appetite for current events and an acute desire to share my opinions, life here in the Red states has felt like spiritual captivity. I have spent so much time biting my tongue at work, cocktail parties and in (trying not to explode at the conversation at the next table in) restaurants, the mold of my teeth is permanently embedded. The thought that I could somehow combine analysis and humor to educate some, comfort others and at least keep the internalized thoughts from making my head explode was enticing. Thus, the realization of how far away I am from actually doing that felt just a little more painful. Progressive Comedy

My dad used to say “Confucius says a journey of 1,000,000 miles begins with the knowledge that 1,000,000 miles is one hell of a long journey.” Actually, that may have been the caption of a cartoon I saw in ‘Penthouse.’ Regardless, it is sage advice. For a change, realizing the length of my journey to join the likes of Stewart, Samantha Bee, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert actually motivated me to do something other than run and hide. Progressive Comedy

I took a class on stand-up comedy. From that I learned some of the basic crafts of comedic writing and stage presence. I took to the stage and have a year and a half under my belt. It has been a satisfying outlet, but I am no Lenny Bruce. I don’t have the courage push the small crowds that come to see me to the point where they would walk out. Besides, I am often working in a restaurant or bar where driving folks off would be a great way to lose a gig. There are parts of Atlanta where my progressive political humor is welcomed by the audience but not many. Frankly I enjoy telling the kind of penis jokes that make my teen aged boys laugh, but I do long to use my humor to try to make some positive changes in the world like the great comics I mentioned above. Progressive Comedy

To have an outlet for the thoughts in my head that don’t resonate in my geography, combine humor and analysis to affect some positive change, and to refine my writing skills in the hope I could someday work for one of my heroes, I created “Standing Up Leaning Left.”  Here, I hope to dig deeper into current events and put my own perspective on them. I will use humor where I can to keep it interesting (and to keep those who have been as forlorn as me recently from going over the edge). Progressive Comedy

I even look forward to some rational debate about the current state of affairs and how we can solve the important problems facing our country (and planet). Note rational debate does not include arguing that man made climate change is a hoax, that creation myths from any religion should be introduced in the Science classroom or that President Trump had the biggest inauguration crowd ever. I hope you will join me to find solace in the company of another “inmate” when you need ,  pickup some small nugget from my insight while also sharing yours and finally to get a laugh or two along the way. Progressive Comedy