Squeaky Clean Comedy – Good for the Soul
When I was growing up, my favorite comedian was Bill Cosby, specifically, his Wonderfulness comedy album. My grandfather had it in the parlor under the record player. My grandfather with his membership to the Playboy Club who had probably seen Redd Foxx and LaWanda Page. He just didn’t bring that stuff home. So, we would listen to Wonderfulness whenever we visited our grandparents. Laughing at squeaky clean stories like building a go-kart and racing it down the hill… into traffic. Or trying to trade tonsils for ice cream. Or finding out that the water at Niagara Falls is icy cold in the summer… after you’ve taken a nose dive into it. This was when I learned the different types of laughter. Starting with a smile, a giggle, a snort, a chuckle, a roar, and a belly aching laugh that makes you pound the floor. I love those kinds of laughs. And I don’t get them often enough.
You see, there are two kinds of comedy that I really like. First, I love comedy that makes me think. Love it to death. I will never forget going to a live performance of comedian/social activist Dick Gregory when I was in college. I must have laughed myself out of my chair, but the time the night was over, I was questioning everything about the American government, and just about anything I learned in public school. Whoopi Goldberg’s comedy also made me think. Her routines about black girls with blond hair and junkies put difficult subjects in front of the American public. I think that’s why I like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah. They take political commentary and make it funny so that you will laugh, but also aware of what is happening in the world. When the Daily News covers elections, I am right there.
Second, I love comedy that can make me laugh and still be clean. No swearing, no sex, no “n-words”. Don’t get me wrong. I liked Richard Pryor. I even had his Wanted album. I had a video tape of Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I like Chris Rock and Kevin Hart. I’ve seen Sonmore in concert twice, I’ve seen all of Wanda Sykes’ specials and Katt Williams makes me roar. But they don’t keep it clean, and I thrive on squeaky clean laughter. I remember how refreshing it was to watch Sinbad. He had “Bill Cosby” comedy. He talked about old school craziness that brought back memories of childhood. Sinbad was so clean, parents could bring their kids. I remember seeing a 12 year old in the audience at one of his performances.
That’s why I was so excited when I discovered Dry Bar Comedy. I discovered Dry Bar on Facebook, and became enamored of the concept. It’s filmed in Provo, Utah, and the comedians have to have the kind of squeaky clean comedy that’s appropriate for families. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to be in the audience. And every so often, they have a black comedian. I discovered Kevin Jordan that way. Jordan is a former black LAPD officer turned comedian who laughs about the fact that kids don’t know the crazy things their parents used to get by. Like a coat hanger for a TV antenna or a pencil to rewind a cassette tape. He had me roaring with laughter, and after that, I was hooked on Dry Bar and hunted down every black comedian who had performed there. They were all on YouTube. Leighann Lord did a Dry Bar routine about taking care of her parents that was completely relatable for me. Cyrus Steele got me to laugh at the fact that he’s cross-eyed. Arvin Mitchell could contort his face and do lip syncs of Kung Fu movies. Dwayne Perkins had me rolling on the floor about kids’ names. I also found Ron G. who talks about men and women’s issues. All on Dry Bar, all squeaky clean, all tripping at being the only black person in a 20 mile radius.
Then, once I start searching for clean comedy, I discovered Josh Johnson. He has toured with Trevor Noah and makes jokes based on therapy sessions and other random issues, like having a baby face. I also love two wonderfully clean Latino comedians: Dave Trevino and Anjelah Johnson. Trevino talks about married life. I seem to love laughing about married life. Anjelah talks about growing up Latina with heartwarming details. Her comedy is as clean as Gabriel Iglesias (Fluffy) who sold out the Dodger Stadium in 2022.
My husband and I went through a phase when Friday night was stand-up comedy night. The best nights were when he had screened the comedian in advance and knew that we would both laugh together. Sometimes, with the comedians who talked about marriage, we would jokingly punch each other or point and wag fingers. Having a night of clean laughter is good for the soul. I highly recommend it.