Don't Shit Where You Eat! ™

Don't Shit Where You Eat! ™

Performing in Swedish (or close enough)

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Thu, January 10, 2019 09:34:46

The first time I performed in Swedish, back in 2013, I was very proud of myself. Not only that I’d performed in another language, but that it worked almost as well as when I’d performed in English. Kept smiling all night and at the bar after the show, a woman from the crowd spoke to me, except in English.

”I thought you were funny, but next time, please perform in English.”

”Gee, thanks.”

”No disrespect meant! But you lost me when you tried to say ’sju’.”

”Sju” is the Swedish word for seven. It was also the first thing I’d said. ”Hi my name is Ryan Bussell, I’ve lived in Sweden for seven years,” except in Swedish. So I lost her then.

The comment annoyed me and I started telling that story on stage. After one such time, a female comic gave me unsolicited feedback – see? that happens sometimes – saying, ”The problem with that bit is that you say ’sju’ perfectly!”


I’ve performed in Swedish several times since then, but it’s rare. I want to be perfect, which will never happen, and not being perfect keeps me from practicing, which keeps me from improving. That’s my problem in general when it comes to Swedish, not just on stage.

Also, I want them laughing for the right reason. A comic offered me a gig at a Youth Club in a Stockholm suburb. Said comic apparently likes to invite me to that town to bomb; previous gigs with him there were abyssmal. Anyway, although I can usually rely on the solid English skills Swedes have, I knew that I would be dealing with a group of 12 – 16 year olds, so I decided to perform in Swedish. Took about 30 seconds before they were openly – and loudly – mocking my accent. Shitheads.

Then there was the time I was booked through an agent to perform at a birthday party outside Mälmo. The birthday boy knew I performed in English, but still wanted me to do 30 minutes at his party in Swedish. Hey, it’s his money, and despite having months to prepare I waited for the train trip south to write and rehearse the whole thing.

Got to the party and found, despite my strong advice, that I was a surprise to the guests. Sigh. It was already awkward as I began, but in Swedish, ”Hi, I’m Ryan, I rarely perform in Swedish but it’s a special night, so why not?” The birthday boy shouted, ”Well, do it English then!” Nope, I’d worked too hard on that set to give up. (Yes, waiting until the last minute is working hard in my world.). He was happy, his guests were confused.

Writing that first Swedish set had two unexpected benefits. First of all, it isn’t enough to Google Translate my English material into Swedish. It needs to have the right flow and, more importantly, I need to be careful which words I choose. I’m not skilled enough to say any and all Swedish words. Writing so carefully and deliberately in Swedish helped my English writing as well.

The second thing is that, to me, Swedish is a much more emotional language than English. It has a sing-song quality and I’ve often said to non-Swedes that, if they would observe two Swedes in conversation, they might not understand what was being said but they would know how the Swedes felt. (It’s interesting, then, that when many Swedes speak English, all emotion vanishes. It can be like talking to a robot that has perfect chinbones.)

Because of that, I found emotion in my material that I didn’t know was there. Saying the same line, but in Swedish, I was much more expressive in my delivery than I’d been when I’d performed in English, so I brought that energy into my English sets as well.

However, I’ve noticed that my tougher material gets a much better response in English than in Swedish. It’s like I get a pass saying dark, offensive things as a foreigner, but when I say the same thing in Swedish, the reaction from the crowd is, ”nooo, we don’t say such things here.” For that reason, and the fact that I don’t recognize the sound of my own voice in Swedish, performing in Swedish will remain a rare event.

I was contacted by a Big Name who asked me if I had any videos on YouTube where I perform in Swedish. "Yes!" I replied, excited for the opportunity he was about to hand me.
"Great! I'm planning to perform as an American speaking Swedish and I need to learn that accent."

Give 'Em What They Want

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, November 27, 2018 07:16:05

Had a conversation recently with a comic who felt like he had to say on stage what the audience expected him to say. ”They see me, they hear my accent, they have a good idea of who I am and where I’m from and I feel like that’s all I should talk about.” He feels like he’s forced to give the crowd what they want.

I get that. One of the many rules of standup is that, if there’s something about you that’s obvious, you have to address it from the start. Otherwise, the crowd gets distracted, thinking, ”Why isn’t the comic addressing that?” instead of listening to the material. I learned early on to always open with, ”Hi, I’m Ryan, I’m from the US but I live here now.” There were times I didn’t do that and heard people in the crowd asking each other, ”Is he English? Is he Irish?”

Yes, I’m Irish! …in America. Here in Sweden, I’m American.

I know a comic that used to have a huge afro. He’d start with 30 seconds on his hair - ”Yes, I know, I have crazy hair…” – and then move on, not addressing it again.

That was the advice I gave to the guy I was talking to- address the obvious but don’t feel that the entire set has to revolve around it. You don’t have to give the crowd what you think they want. I even used my classic line, ”You’re not there for them, they’re there for you.”

I have to wonder, though, if this is good advice. My niche is American Comic in Sweden and of course I talk about that; I talk about my life and my life is here. But I avoid it as much as I can and I openly shit on the standard jokes to the point of absurdity. But it doesn’t matter, Swedes won’t stop laughing at those jokes. Just me saying a word in Swedish is enough to get a laugh and since I don’t want to become a cliché – the comic who hates the audience – I avoid doing that, too.

So while I’m actively avoiding that material, my peers are not, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that several of my peers get a lot more heat than me. (I mean, there’s a chance they’re actually funnier than me, but how likely is that?) They’re giving the audience what they want to hear.

I just… can’t. Or won’t. Despite the fact that I rarely perform outside Sweden, I am still trying to write material that will work no matter where I am. I talked about this with an established comic who told me he used to feel the same way, but it didn’t take long before everything was about Sweden, and now every new idea is about Sweden. You can’t get more successful than him, so there might be a point to giving the crowd what they want.

Maybe, deep down, I do hate the audience, or at least think I’m better than them. I always liked this advice from Bill Hicks: ”Don’t ever ask the audience, ’How are you all feeling tonight?’ It’s your job to tell them how to feel.”

I’ve said before that I have no ambition and that’s true, but despite my best intentions I’m still human and enjoy success. I just want success on my terms. I’m not there for them, they’re there for me.

Pet Peeves

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, November 20, 2018 09:11:21

You will have a hard time finding a bigger snob about comedy than me. As much as I love standup, as much as I say that standup is a huge umbrella encompassing many styles, as open as I’d like to be to everything, I’ve still got firm opinions about what is and what isn’t funny. I’m outspoken about it as well, to the detriment of my career.

For example, telling a comic, ”I think you’re very talented but your humor just isn’t for me,” when that comic could’ve got me a guest spot at Stockholm’s most known club, probably wasn’t a great idea.

Still, even if I knew a way to keep my opinions to myself, I wouldn’t want to. I’d like to be as open offstage as I am onstage, but maybe I should pick my battles better.

Everyone has their own tastes and I’m certainly not unique in that regard, but there times I react so violently to something I literally groan out loud.

”I’d like to try some new stuff tonight, is that okay?” Fun Fact: no crowd in history has ever said, ”No, it’s not okay! Do old stuff, even though we haven’t heard that either and have no idea who you are!” That’s just a lazy way of telling a crowd, ”I don’t know if any of this is going to work so please give me a break if it sucks.” If you have to say that, then just say that.

”This word in Swedish means one thing but in English it means something soooooo different!” This one kills me, even inspired my first blog entry. Swedish words like kock and fart are dirty words in English. That’s the punchline. Not only does that make my skin crawl, watching Swedish crowds double-over in laughter adds insult to injury. SEE ALSO: Being not Swedish and saying any Swedish word as a punchline.

”What do you do? …Oh, I don’t have a joke for that.” Good Lord, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a comic say that during crowd work. If having a joke ready for any possible job is that important to you, then write 100000000 possible responses. Or do what I do- don’t ask that question.

(I should mention here that I avoid crowd work like the Plague, despite it being my 2018 New Year’s resolution. I want to get better at it, but the standard, ”What’s your name, what do you do?” is not inspiring. Also, nine times out of ten in Stockholm, the answer is ”Student” or ”IT”.)

”How many of you are audience and how many of you are comics?” This one comes up at Power on a regular basis and drives me nuts. I get it, though. There are times we have ten civilians and twenty comics in the room, and that breakdown isn’t ideal when you’re performing. I just don’t see the point of the question, other than broadcasting to the civilians, ”Hey, I suspect that you’re vastly outnumbered by comics and that sucks. Maybe you didn’t know how much it sucks but I hope you get it now.”

Generally, any comment regarding the small size of a crowd is shitty, no matter where you are. ”I know you’re here to have fun but I don’t think this is fun so let me ruin your good time as well.”

"Damn, that spotlight is so bright! I'll stand over here instead." Yes, in the dark. Being visible is somewhat important in standup.

”OMG you guys, I hate using public bathrooms and you won’t believe what happened to me in one!” So do we and yes, we will. Speaking of relatable humor….

”Round of applause, how many of you use Facebook?” Here’s a better one: ”Round of applause, how many of you breathe oxygen?”

Taking a sip of water after a punchline to provoke an applause break. That’s not water in your glass, that’s desperation. SEE ALSO: ”I think that joke was worth a round of applause, amirite?”

”Hmmm, that joke usually gets a better reaction.” Either that, or you were better somewhere else. Be funnier, jeez. SEE ALSO: ”Hmm, that joke was funnier in my head…”

”Here’s five minutes about my penis.” No one’s penis is worth five minutes. And yes, I am a hypocrite.

”I did this thing and you thought I was doing it in private but now I tell you I did it in public and that’s the punchline!” I’ve had a harder time hearing a train pull into a station than hearing those punchlines coming.

”Boy, that last comic sure sucked, huh?” There’s nothing worse than bashing another comic on stage. Could we at least pretend there’s honor amongst thieves? We all suck from time to time, so ask not for whom the bell tolls. Save the bashing for when you’re securely behind that comic’s back.

Feedback Whine

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, November 06, 2018 08:20:34

”Could you give me some feedback on my set?”

”Sorry, wasn’t paying attention.”

I like when comics ask me for feedback. Part of it is an ego kick, part of it is that I really like talking comedy, but mostly it’s because I like to see comics trying to develop. Asking for feedback is very important, but is all too rare.

Unfortunately, most of the time I’m asked for feedback, it’s after the comic was on. If I haven’t been on stage myself yet, I’m thinking about my set and not paying close attention to the comics before me. If I’ve already been on, I’m usually too busy licking my wounds or patting myself on the back to pay attention. And if it’s at my club, I’m focused on a dozen things other than paying close attention to every set.

Long story short, chances are slim I ever pay close attention to anyone. Ask me before you go on.

I have mixed feelings about giving feedback, though. On the one hand, I’ve been in love with standup since long before many Stockholm comics were born, I’ve been around, I have informed opinions. On the other hand, who am I? A rookie with seven years’ experience, hardly a mentor. It also sucks to give people advice that they don’t take.

One thing I learned, early on, was to never give unsolicited feedback. It never goes well, especially if you’re a man giving advice to a woman. So many men have given unsolicited feedback to women it’s become a cliché. I’d like to think it’s a symptom of wanting to encourage female comics but I think the real reason is carnal in nature.

I also believe that however one wants to spend their time on stage is up to them. It’s not for me to tell someone what to do, what to improve, what to cut. At Power Comedy Club we have a stable of regulars- God bless them- and I’m happy we give them a place to do whatever they want. Still, I get the urge now and then to say to someone, ”Hey, you know that joke you’ve tried the past ten weeks with the same reaction, that is to say, none? Are you married to it?”

I don’t ask for feedback nearly often enough. Fortunately, I have close friends who know to criticize me right before I go on stage so my confidence is shaken, or to criticize me right after I finish what I thought was a good set. It’s important to surround yourself with friends that keep you humble.

Lineups: Creating Order From Chaos

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, October 30, 2018 10:04:59

[NOTE: In today’s blog I’ll be referring to rookies often. I am a rookie with seven years experience, which by Swedish standards makes me a veteran. I am writing rookie here to indicate rookie rookies.]

I once had an argument with a newbie about setting the lineup at shows. I’m very much a traditionalist- put the least-experienced first. She was opposed to that- passionately, in fact- believing this to be unfair, not just to the rookies but also the audience. At the time, I’d been running clubs for two years and she was just starting out, so I figured I knew better, but she’s kind of a big deal now and I’m not, so maybe I should’ve listened to her.

Nah, I’m sure I’m right.

I saw her point. Her view was that, if an experienced comic goes first, the vibe in the room goes higher than it would if a rookie went first. The crowd would have more fun and the room would be warmer when the rookie went on, which would make it more likely for the rookie to succeed. Everyone wins.

Here’s my take. First of all, no one likes to go first. Okay, there are times when someone just wants to get home or to another gig and is more than happy to go first, but that’s not very common. Any comic that’s been in the game for a long time has already gone through a period of going up first. It’s rarely a lot of fun.

Second of all, if a rookie is going up first to a cold room, then the host did a shit job. Which, admittedly, is all too common, but the last thing a host should do is throw a rookie to the wolves without at least getting the crowd focused and ready. Even an amazing host like myself can bomb sometimes, so, again, going up first stinks.

Third, and most importantly, you have to work harder when the crowd isn’t so hot they laugh at your every word and gesture. This is where I say, putting rookies first is the best thing for them and also the audience. It’s a trial by fire: rookies have to get better or die, and this process goes faster when they have to work themselves off the frontlines. They develop, and the more developed comics in the community, the better experience we offer to audiences.

In any case, I have empathy, but not sympathy, for anyone unhappy going first. I’ve gone first more times than I can count and still do, from time to time. Sometimes by choice, especially at a club I run, sometimes not by choice. It is what it is, you just need to work with it.


At Power Comedy Club, managing the lineup is especially tricky. Each show is two ”halves” followed immediately by the Marathon of walk-in comics who get five minutes each and introduce each other. We try to book no more than five comics in advance, two of whom get ten minutes and the other three getting seven minutes each. The booked comics are on before the Marathon and they aren’t enough to fill out the lineup, so we need to mix in a few of the twenty- on a slow night- comics who come in off the street.

In theory, the order is determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Signing up for these walk-in, open spots starts at 7 PM, but we’re there to set things up much earlier than that. Didn’t take long for comics to figure that out, so they began coming into the room ten minutes early. Then twenty. Then forty. The night I walked into the room at 5:30 PM and found comics waiting for me, I put my foot down with my two partners and now we’re enforcing the stay-out-of-the-room-until-7-PM rule. I appreciate the enthusiam but damn, give a brother a chance to eat dinner.

Our regulars accepted that without issue, however, and now they wait patiently upstairs until we take the rope off the stairway at 7 PM and they move like a flash flood to the signup sheet. I keep saying I’ll just make a checklist of all our regulars instead of a blank form, but I haven’t made good on that threat yet. Anyway, I’m grateful for their patience.

In practice, however, when they arrive is a factor, but not the main factor that determines their places in the lineup. My partners and I decide who deserves spots before the Marathon and how to balance the order so it’s not too many rookies in a row. We haven’t always been so particular and just did put comics on in the order they signed up, and this led to a few brutal evenings with the crowd fleeing the room like rats deserting a sinking ship.

Signup stays open the whole show, so when experienced comics walk in at 10 PM and there’s twenty comics left to go, we usually stick them somewhere into the lineup instead of at the bottom of the list. The danger here is pissing comics off, but people seem to be pretty understanding. The better the lineup, the more likely the audience is to stay longer. When we have a show that lasts more than three, sometimes more than four hours- the record so far is 36 comics- no one can expect a lot of people to stay to the end. But, to date, we’ve always had at least one civilian, and usually more, in the room, along with comics, by the end of the night.

So far, we’ve only pissed off one guy, at least openly. He’d been at Power three or four times before, signed up one night at 7 PM, brought some people to watch him. We like it when comics bring support, so we put him on early in the Marathon and his people sat right in front of the stage. Great! Except it didn’t take long to see his people were terrible, seemed completely uninterested in the show and just sucked all the energy out of the room.

Meanwhile, more experienced comics were arriving, texting in advance, looking for spots. We started plugging them into the lineup to turn the night around, because no one was having fun. This led to the aforementioned guy throwing a shit fit- but not on us, on one of the freshly arrived comics- because he was getting bumped later and later and that’s not fair, he was there at 7 PM! Said shit fit was happening in the room while the show was going on. We took him aside, tried to explain, he mocked us for having the show on a Thursday. ”You should have it on Friday or Saturday! If you did, I have eighty people who would come, just to see me!” Well, if those eighty suck as bad as the four he had that night, I’m glad they can’t make it.

He never did make it on that night. After pacing angrily around the room and getting roasted by a comic we put on before him, he and his crew gave up and left without a word. But that’s Power Comedy Club- all are welcome! He’s welcome back anytime, I look forward to giving him the last spot of the night.

Hosting- A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, October 23, 2018 08:24:35

I have a complicated relationship with hosting shows. On the one hand, I really enjoy doing it. I’m good at it. In fact, I’m the best host in Stockholm, according to myself and no one else, despite the sheer amount of times I tell people I’m the best host in town. Some people just won’t learn.

On the other hand, the best you can do as host is your job. ”It’s not your job to be funny,” I’ve said, ad naseum, of hosting. A host needs to be funny, obviously, but no one is ever there to see the host. The host isn’t the star of the show. Which isn’t to say that the host is invisible; I’ve received plenty of compliments from comics and people from the crowd after hosting a show. But the best host will always be overshadowed by the best comic on the lineup.

A few friends of mine spoke recently on a comedy pod about hosting vs. doing a set. ”It sucks to bomb but it sucks almost as bad to have just an ok gig, and the best you’ll ever have as host is an ok gig.” Very, very true.

Again, not to say I’ve walked away from every hosting gig feeling, meh. If the show goes well, I feel good about it, especially when I feel like my hosting had a lot to do with how well it went. But my strength as host is also my weakness- I found a way to do it that works well and I stick to the script each time, with very little variation. The best thing that can happen is that it works, flawlessly, but that’s what is supposed to happen.

It’s like, when I’m thirsty I’ll drink a glass of water, then I’m not thirsty anymore. The water did its job. I’ve said, ”Damn, that was good water!” now and then but it’s pretty rare. To paraphrase Derek Smalls *, I’m the water that holds a show together.

This has been on my mind since last weekend. I hosted a show on Friday, it was a lot of fun, hosted again on Saturday, it was amazing. Got a lot of laughs and claps on the back and free drinks, job well done!

But one of the comics on the lineup got two corporate gigs from people in the crowd. Good thing I don’t get jealous of others! Wondering what that sound is? Just my teeth grinding.

* If you don’t know who Derek Smalls is, you need to get on that shit.

"When ambition ends, happiness begins." *

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Tue, October 16, 2018 07:40:54
* Thomas Merton

A few nights ago, I went to see Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle perform in Stockholm, at Globen. Amazing show, sold out or damn near. Even their opening act was fantastic, despite half the crowd not bothering to be there, preferring to stay in the bar. Hell, not everyone was there for Jon Stewart, either.

Being there, having a great time, it struck me how much I would’ve loved to be even just the opening act that no one cares about and few remember afterwards. Naturally, feeling the love bestowed on Stewart and especially on Chappelle, I thought about how amazing it must feel to be on that stage, to reach that level, to earn that much adoration. What if that’s me someday?

It won’t be and that’s ok. I have zero ambition.


A friend asked me yesterday what I want to be when I grow up. We were talking about my job and her University studies. I said, ”I want a high paying job with no responsibilities,” which I don’t think is too much to ask. I’m easy to please! All I really want to do is whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it. Sleep late, play video games, tell jokes, stay out late, lather, rinse, repeat. As of this post I’m 43 ½ and this is the extent of my ambition.

It’s just very difficult, at this point in my life, to believe I’ll ever have a job that I really care about. Don’t get me wrong, I take work seriously and put in my best effort, but I’m not invested on a personal level. If I do well I keep my job, keep making money, hopefully get a raise, but paying bills is what it’s all about. I’m a husband and a father, I can’t lead a life with zero responsibilities, as appealing as that may sound.

Other than my family, of course, what I care about is comedy. As I’ve said on stage, ”I think about comedy more than I think about sex… and I think about sex A LOT,” which is accurate. Having a job affords me the chance to put as much into standup as I can, since that’s where my passion lies. I make a bit of cash telling jokes, which is nice, and I would love to make more, though it’s hard to imagine it being my full-time job. The only thing keeping me from calling it a hobby is how all-encompassing it is.

As passionate as I am about comedy, about standup in particular, I have no ambition there, either. Keep performing, keep running clubs. Maybe someday do an hour-long show on my own, which at this point I absolutely could do if I put my mind to it. But I haven’t yet because, well, see above.


I’ve been performing for nearly seven years now, which isn’t long at all anywhere else, but in Stockholm makes me an old man on stage more than being 43 ½. Over the years I’ve seen many of my peers surpass me, moving upwards in and sometimes onwards from standup- touring, high-profile clubs, radio, TV, etc. Some were already veterans- at least by Swedish standards- when I started, some started around the same time as me, still more started after I did, sometimes long after.

It goes without saying that, in each and every case, I am funnier and more talented than them. Kidding. I’m competitive and I could grumble that luck and/or better social skills had more to do with their success than talent for a few of them, but I can’t claim to match their drive. If you’ve got goals in mind, you’re more likely to do what it takes to reach them. Ask me where I see myself in five years and I say, ”Here.”


I’ve known comics who, after three to five years in standup, felt they’d reached a plateau, a level they just wouldn’t get past. Felt they’d never get into radio or TV or movies no matter how much more effort they put into standup, so quit. Why bother?

I've come to realize that I am firmly on that plateau and I’ve likely been here longer than I know, and that’s ok. I never understood before how anyone could quit, especially talented people, but I get it now. It has to be frustrating to know you’ll never get what you want while watching your peers move on to bigger and better things. It’s fertile ground for jealousy and bitterness, not a fun place to be. I know a few comics who did become jealous and bitter and stuck with it anyway; I honestly understand the ones who quit better than the angry, spiteful ones still doing it.

Myself, I’ll keep doing it out of love. I may have reached the highest level I’ll ever reach and I don’t put that all on my lack of ambition. This may be all my talent is worth. Maybe it’s because entertaining the audience isn’t as important to me as entertaining myself, or because I’m not very social, or I’m unlucky, or all those reasons or none of them. Doesn’t matter to me.

It may be a plateau but the view is amazing.

Writing About Writing About Women

ComedyPosted by Ryan Bussell Wed, October 10, 2018 03:23:30

”Excuse me… hi! Great show tonight, thanks! But I have to ask you… where are the women?!”

”That’s a good question- where ARE the women?”

On three separate occasions after hosting shows with all-male lineups, three very different women walked up to me and said virtually the same thing. In Sweden, it takes a special kind of person – or at least a drunk one – to have the courage to walk up to me, a stranger, and ask anything. I can only imagine how many women there wondered the same thing, but didn’t ask.

It’s a tough subject. There are many more men than women in the comedy scene, lineups are consistently dominated by men, sometimes are exclusively men. Where are the women, indeed?

I have no answers but I have theories, I have examples, I have stories that show there’s plenty of blame to go around. I often talk about this situation because it's something I hope to help improve, and, most importantly, I want to see more women performing because there’s only so many dick jokes I can bear.

Here’s the problem though: I can’t write about it.

Not that I haven’t tried! On my blog, when I wrote the story of the time I asked, like an idiot, a woman to not be ”a typical female comic”, I sent the link to a friend and she asked me, ”Ok… why are you writing about this?” As I was writing a long entry on today’s topic, that question kept popping into my head, so I threw it out and wrote this instead. I might as well write about what it’s like to be a black man in comedy.

I’m a white guy, the world is my oyster. If I write that the problem is due solely to club owners not doing enough to address the problem, that would be ok. But if I suggest things women could do themselves to improve the situation, I’d come across as an asshole. Or worse, that I’m mansplaining to female comics how they can fix things. Sigh. Just writing that probably makes me an asshole.

I mean, I am an asshole, but I don’t want to be an asshole about this. I want more women on stage! The crowd wants diversity as well. As one of the women who approached me said, ”It’s not that I didn’t think the men weren’t funny, I just would’ve liked one person I could’ve related to.” Shows need different voices, different perspectives.

I’m happy to say that I’ve encouraged a lot of rookies over the years. I’m not the most experienced comic around, I just love standup, I appreciate talent, and I like to motivate comics I think have potential. At the same time, I’ve encouraged only a few men, because it rarely feels necessary. I’ve seen awful male comics keep at it, never improving, with absolutely zero self-awareness. I myself may be one of them. I won’t say that women need encouragement and men don’t, but I will say that a lot of men could use some discouragement.

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