No one doubts the United States of America is a socially frayed nation. We are struggling to find unity and common ground in an era of contradicting values, hyper-partisan politics and a toxic 24/7 news and social media cycle. Thanks to an overwhelming media presence in our lives, we appear more divided than ever; not just by politics, but by race, income and age. Some whites fear the loss of “traditional” America, while minorities feel the country is backsliding on racial equality. Generationally, many millennials blame the nation’s problems on Baby Boomers and their predecessors while older Americans look down on younger people as too fragile and entitled.
Regardless of age, race or political affiliation, we all desire an escape from our ever-present political and social friction. Traditionally, our common outlets from this strife have been sports and entertainment. However, political and social friction have bled into these outlets too. In particular, comedy has seen an uptick in controversy as many comedians now rely and thrive on hot-button topics with often divisive results.
A recent example of a divisive performance was Michelle Wolf’s hot-button appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Wolf was hired by the White House Correspondents’ Association to poke fun at everything political in Washington. However, Wolf admitted, “I didn’t want to cater to the room. I wanted to cater to the outside audience and not betray my brand of comedy.” Her takedown of President Trump and his staff was seen by half the country as bold and brilliant and the other half as hateful and disrespectful. Regardless of one’s political opinion, Wolf’s performance didn’t appear funny to the original audience, the people who hired her to entertain them, not speak to a larger platform.
Comedy Has Gotten Uncomfortable For Many
The fallout from the White House Correspondent’s dinner mirrors a dilemma facing audiences and venues alike. As an entertainment consumer, people don’t want to be blindsided by going to a show and getting an unexpected barrage of politically and socially charged jokes that might be totally at odds with their beliefs and values. Likewise entertainment venues, especially casinos or theatres, don’t want to lose customers because those customers were left highly offended by a performance.
Obviously, comedy is meant to be a form of entertainment and expression which can include subjects that audience members can’t often publicly voice their opinions on. Controversial comedians like Bill Maher on the Left or Dennis Miller on the Right are not necessarily an issue, as audiences and venues both know what to expect from them when they hit the stage. They are a defined brand and a defined taste. However, when the controversial topics are unexpected and unwelcome, problems can arise for audiences and venues. With the current political divide, a situation like this might alienate at least half an audience.
“Since these are such turbulent times,” says Marc, “my goal is to make sure everybody in the audience gets to relax and have a good time.”
Marc Yaffee realizes that comedy as a medium can provoke further division between audience members of different backgrounds. Marc has made a conscious decision to use his comedy to try and bring common ground where people of any political, ethnic or social background can feel welcome at his shows. Marc’s take is that during this turbulent era, he wants to engage rather than inflame his audiences. His goal is not to run away or avoid topics like race or immigration, but to joke about them in a way that will make people laugh and think.
Marc understands that we don’t need to agree with each other at the end of the day. However, sharing in laughter together can make us realize that we ultimately have something in common, even if it’s just our ability to laugh at ourselves.
Performing Comedy Successfully to Diverse Audiences is Possible
Is it still possible to perform comedy to audiences of various beliefs and backgrounds without offending half the people there or looking out of touch or pandering? Marc believes it is absolutely possible and has demonstrated it over many thousands of performances. From Liberal Arts colleges to American Legions, from military bases to colleges and from Tribal Reservations to Pro Rodeo gatherings, Marc has developed an awareness to connect and win over audiences of all backgrounds.
“Having worked in 43 states and 11 countries, I have had every blend of audience imaginable,” Marc observes. “I know when I can see a 20-something hipster laughing just as hard as a rancher in a cowboy hat and jeans in that same audience, that I’ve done my job.”
Marc Yaffee understands that comedy doesn’t have to be pandering or watered down to have widespread appeal. As we discussed in “Diversity in Life and Comedy,” comedy has a unique ability to bring audiences together when done right.
“I never want to compromise my voice or beliefs onstage,” says Marc. “But sometimes I will adjust my delivery or tone enough to keep a connection with an audience that might be a bit tight or on edge about certain topics.”
Celebrating diversity and delivering a relevant comedy performance without offending people by getting political or controversial isn’t always easy. However, Marc has been doing it for years and is appreciated for his ability to always deliver a clean show appropriate for his intended audience while sending them into shared laughter.
“Marc is the greatest. We have had him at our functions for a few years now and he always has new material. Our guests love the way that he has a knack for making jokes that could go a bit on the harder side, go in a direction that is pleasing, non-offensive and very funny for all audiences. I highly recommend him for your next function.” -Naomi Turner, Executive Director, Lassen County Farm Bureau
Marc’s goal onstage is always to entertain, not offend. With 19 years of comedy experience, Marc Yaffee is the perfect choice to bring your audience together in laughter.
Book Marc for Your Next Event
Marc Yaffee is ready to make your next event laugh-out-loud funny. Marc has numerous endorsements and personal testimonials and his resume can be viewed here.