There seems to be a tendency among the mainstream comedy consuming audience to want all of our comedians to be neatly placed into singular trait identities. Whether with the “blue” comic or “Asian” comic, the “fat” comic, or perhaps the neurotic observer, we often try to take one overwhelming trait in a comic and label him as “this.”
can” comic. No, Charlie Ballard understands that while playing to stereotypes in moderation can give a comic considerable latitude (and some great laughs), sometimes performing great comedy is about breaking outside the preordained notion of everyone else for you as a comic and just performing great comedy, for everyone, period.
academic prowess and determination to be whatever he wanted. “I graduated in 2003 but after school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, maybe grad school or law school. Suddenly this big ‘ole light bulb just sprang into my head and I thought ‘Stand up comedy!’ I’ve been doing it now for the past 5 years and it has turned out pretty great.”
With a limited number of these convenient little labels to run through, masses of these presorted players are run through the stereotyping mill every time a new project calls for a “weird” comedian or a “girl” comic to fill a scripted part. For those left on the fringes, the new opportunities can be left wanting.
Charlie has a unique perspective on comedy, with little doubt that his surroundings provided him with a need for comedy as a means to cope with thechallengesofgrowingupdistinctly unique. Born and raised in the bay area, Charlie was far from the origins of the Shinobi Tribes of Michigan that form his heritage. Being gay to boot didn’t necessarily alienate him from society in San Fran, but the combination did make him distinctly individual.
Charlie was pretty isolated as a kid (or felt so at least) and humor soon began to trigger as a defense mechanism. “I think when I was growing up, I was always by myself and I didn’t really have a whole lot of friends. It made it a lot tougher for me to communicate with everyone else and I didn’t have a normal pattern of social skills set. The only way I could relate to people was by making them laugh or by making a wise crack. I never really considered myself ‘funny’ but I guess wit was more of a defense mechanism than anything
Introducing a comedian who turns this notion on its head. While he may not fall in the cookie cutter of common comedians, he also won’t just be labeled that “gay Native Ameri18, CAMPUS ACTIVITIES MAGAZINE, March 2009
At 34, Charlie was a bit of a late bloomer out of college, but had the
March 2009, CAMPUS ACTIVITIES MAGAZINE, 19
Published on Mar 19, 2009
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