A few weeks ago, this article came out in the A.V. Club about how Sarah Silverman sides with college students when it comes to being politically correct in comedy. A lot of comics have come out and said that lately playing colleges just isn’t the same as it used to be. College students won’t laugh at certain “edgy” material because it isn’t politically correct (or more often, I think, doesn’t sound P.C.). Many top comics who used to tour colleges now totally neglect the college venues because of it. As a recent graduate who spent almost all of my previous on-stage time in front of other students, I know from first hand experience that there’s a difference telling a joke to students rather than a normal audience. A particular joke about chopsticks that I wrote while at school comes to mind as the type of material that often won’t work on a college campus, but is still a funny joke pretty much anywhere else:
I think Asians aren’t impressed by magic because a wand is just half of chopsticks.
There’s more to the joke, but even just this opening line can rouse boos from a college coffee house, just because it sounds racist. I’m not going to argue whether it actually is racist or not, but I’ll tell you that I think the joke is funny because it’s so obviously false and ridiculous, not because it’s making fun of Asians at all. The involvement of Asian people is totally tangential to the humor of the joke! But, the mere mention of Asians is enough to get a lot of students hot and bothered. Trust me, the joke does just fine here in New York City.