Friday Aside: Always Do Your Due Diligence, Stand-up Comic Edition

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I attended a Big Game event near the end of my time at the University of California.  At this point, the Bonfire had been cancelled for some reason or another, so there were not that many Big Game week events.  This event was a group of comedians, at least two, maybe three, possibly four.  It was held at Zellerbach Hall.  I cannot remember most of the event, but there was a comedian who looked like Greg Proops, but was definitely not Greg Proops.  He started his routine with some topical material.   He thought he would warm up the crowd by saying how he thought it was stupid that Cal’s opponent in the Big Game had a mascot like a bird. He went on a little bit until an audience member yelled out that their nickname was Cardinal, the color, not Cardinals, like the bird.  That probably ended about four or five follow-up jokes.

His mistake was not that unusual, I had a Cal screen saver in the early 1990s that had a bear eating a cardinal (not the Cardinal) done by some third-party licensee.  However, my non-legal advice to young stand-up comedians is always do your due diligence when trying out audience-specific material, be it a college campus, a casino audience (I saw George Carlin play San Manuel, and he did casino jokes), or a corporate retreat.

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