"I hope your tits shrivel up and fall off."

Week of January 19, 2006

...That was the one...: I commend you on publishing a piece on comedy in St. Louis and especially for featuring a female comedian. What disappoints me is your particular choice of comedian. There are many people in the St. Louis area trying to succeed in the business. I attend the Funny Bone's open mic on a fairly regular basis, and while many of the comedians on that stage are hit-or-miss (it is an open mic, after all), I have seen some talent that definitely deserves greater recognition. I saw Brie Johnson's performance at the Funny Bone last spring, and it just wasn't impressive. Granted, she may have just had a bad night, but I've seen countless other comedians deliver a better show on a consistent basis.

Her focus appears to be on her ass and not her comedy. For someone who claims to be getting ahead on pure talent rather than sexual appeal, I find it ironic that the majority of her accompanying photos were done topless or in suggestive poses. If you are really interested in featuring great aspiring local comedians, I suggest you check out the following: Jeremy Essig, Ken Jr., Arvin Mitchell, Gabe Kia and especially these female comedians: Andi Smith, Janine Brito and Nikki Glaser. I hope that in the future you will make an attempt to showcase the best talent and not just the "biggest ass."
Lauren O'Niell
Clayton

...I was going to tell! Where do I begin? Julie Seabaugh must know this girl Brie Johnson as a deep, personal friend to write such a long story and give her such a huge spread in the Riverfront Times. I saw her act last night at the Improv and it sucked! I am not making this statement to be mean or a "playa hater"; it really sucked. The crowd was mixed. If there were 50 black people, there were about 15 to 20 white people, and she still sucked. She was on stage for three minutes! The article mentioned that she has to know her audience, but if the crowd is mixed, then you have a 50-50 chance of winning the majority.

I really question her as a comedian. I mean, to read jokes (if you can call them that) in a newspaper article and then to hear them on stage loses its appeal. Unless, of course, the person has earned their comedic stripes and/or the joke is just really funny. But I venture to say that she has no strong arsenal of comedic material. I mean, does she tell that "My daddy might be black, my last name is Johnson" joke at every venue? Come on! And speaking of that, she builds her image on being a white girl with a "ghetto" booty (which I find offensive, seeing that I know a plethora of black people with big or healthy behinds that have never lived in the ghetto, but anyway I digress). The booty thing is tired. I mean, that is a norm for African Americans, who by the way do not all have big butts. Just like many whites have big noses, blacks have big butts — big deal! That material gets old.

Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle are intelligent; that's not to say that Brie isn't. They have insight and a handle on human nature. They study their material and then deliver. They also speak (or spoke) on issues that truly effect race and how that affects policy, mentality, bureaucracy, capitalism, etc. And they made it relative and funny. Connecting with black people because you have a round ass is ridiculous. I mean, do whites think blacks are that simplistic and superficial? Hell, no! We come to relax, have a good time and to release tension that we tend to armor ourselves with to face the world. I know comedy doesn't have to entirely be academic, but to pick a topic that is a staple of another race's dialogue and turn that into a comedy routine just has no merit to me. This "comedy" is also indicative of how tired St. Louis is. I don't know why black people make a big deal about someone of another race having "black" blood. I could come up with a few possibilities, but that is another subject for another time.

I was very disappointed with Brie Johnson. A friend I was with said he didn't think she even tried. And the fact that people pass her a business card doesn't necessarily mean she is great; she may be a means to their end. The last comic, a white guy who was hilarious (and not because he is married to a black girl but because he knew how to deliver and be funny), said that word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. If that is true, Brie is in trouble. I am waiting to see the Brie that Michael Roberts Jr. said he has never seen anything like. Is he kidding (or again, is this a means-to-an-end deal)?

By the way, I liked Seabaugh's article from a literary/review perspective. As biased as it seemed, the article was better than the stand-up. Yikes!

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