Stormy Daniels made waves after announcing a headlining gig at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase in Houston. Comedians nationwide took offense to Daniels, who likely has never done a comedy open mic in her life, headlining a comedy club on name recognition alone.
But here’s the rub: porn stars have been headlining comedy shows for years. Bree Olson made a web series, Bree Does Comedy, about an adult film star that becomes a stand-up. Sovereign Syre made a name for herself as a dual-action comedian and porn star. Ron Jeremy does a surprising number of club sets.
The prevalence of porn stars getting up onstage makes the backlash to Stormy Daniels doing stand-up only more confusing because this isn’t a new phenomenon.
Earlier this week, Laurie Kilmartin tweeted “Doing standup is not a reward for being famous. Please leave the weekend gigs for actual female comics,” in response to Daniel’s Tour Manager, Dwayne Crawford, announcing her first stand-up show in Texas. While Kilmartin says to “leave the weekends” for actual comics, the show is an independently-produced one-nighter on a Wednesday.
Doing standup is not a reward for being famous. Please leave the weekend gigs for actual female comics. https://t.co/nR6YExAZ5d
— Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) March 3, 2019
Daniels clapped back saying that she has been writing material “for over 10 years” and that insinuated she should critique Kilmartin’s oral sex skills.
Wow!So supportive. I AM an “actual female” but I’ll never get women who just tear other women down& I know it’s not a “reward”. I’ve been writing comedy material for over 10yrs.Would you like me to critique your bj skills?Your whole foot fits in your mouth so you’ll prob do great https://t.co/HQt2FCu3sE
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 3, 2019
While her clapback is wonderful, it misses a specific point. Kilmartin says, “Doing stand-up is not a reward for being famous.” Maybe it should be.
Or, at the very least, more famous people should try stand-up.
Comedy is an art form like singing or acting.
As a culture, we usually don’t get mad at actors when they try to sing. We make fun of them if they are bad, but we don’t try to bar them from trying it. We often even encourage it. Everyone can’t stop praising Bradley Cooper for singing in A Star Is Born. The same goes with singers acting—Cher won a damn Oscar.
Stand-up comedy is an art. We often act like it is not, but performing on stage, no matter what you are doing, is a type of performance art. Just like dancing or singing or acting (or stripping). We applaud celebrities who can dance and sing and act. We call them triple threats. Why can’t there be a fourth threat: comedy?
Comedy isn’t seen as a skill and as an art because we don’t treat it like one. We treat comedians as a type of people and not people who are doing a skill. By this viewpoint, people like Daniels should not do comedy because she is ‘not a comedian.’ But what makes someone a comedian? If it is just pursing and doing stand-up, then she is one.
Is Stormy Daniels a comedian?
The line between comedian and civilian isn’t a clear one. There is a feeling that someone needs to have started from nothing and put in work, but that notion is dated and rings a little false. There are a million ways to start doing stand-up, especially in today’s world. The only thing that all good comedians share is working on their craft and there are a million different ways to do that, too.
Daniels isn’t showing up at open mics, but can you blame her? Imagine what open mikers would say if she did. Doing a show is how she is working on her jokes. The first time, things might not be funny. Like all other comics, she will work it out on stage.
Crawford posted a tweet in Daniels’s defense equating telling her she can’t do stand-up would be like her telling them they can’t have sex.
Having amateur comedians tell @StormyDaniels that she can’t do stand up is like her telling them they can’t have sex. She’s been a writer longer than most of you, get over yourselves. #LieDownComedy #StandUpComedy #ComediansAreSensitive
— Dwayne Crawford (@dwaynejcrawford) March 4, 2019
Stormy Daniels could actually help comedy.
There is something really important to that. You can’t own an art. There are no walls barring entry to those who want to try an art form. Nothing is stopping me as a writer to make a porn tomorrow. Jim Carrey is painting. Rob McElhenney can learn to dance. Jack Black can sing the National Anthem. We don’t care about comedians doing other types of art because we don’t think of those types of arts as an identity.
Comedians have to realize “comedian” is not an identity—it is an art form. It is the only way for comedians to be taken more seriously and seen as artists. It is hard to legitimize an identity the same way we legitimize a career or an art form. However, if it isn’t an identity, we have to get over people who didn’t start stand-up by doing a million open mics.
Stormy Daniels is probably funnier than everyone who has ever taken a class at UCB
— Jake Flores (@feraljokes) March 4, 2019