Serious question: Why doesn’t the Furry Fandom have more comedians?
I don’t mean racist loudmouth assholes who wouldn’t know a good joke if it cup-checked them every day after their second cup of coffee for a week straight (i.e. the racist birdbrain).
I also don’t mean external comedians making lazy jokes at the expense of the fandom. “It’s all a sex cult!” they chuckle into the abyss.
When I ask, “Why doesn’t the Furry Fandom have more comedians?” I mean furry content creators whose primary output is meant to make people laugh. This can be stand-up comedy performances at furry events or even just YouTube skits.
Having a good joke or two in your informative YouTube videos doesn’t make you a comedian. It just makes your videos better! It’s like cooking with garlic; might as well make a big stinker.
If you’re a Furry YouTuber and you’re reading this post, don’t be shy about adding an extra clove or ten of bad puns and situational irony into your next video. Practice makes perfect. (I would say I’m rooting for you, but the hackers reading this might think I’m pledging to build you a botnet.)
I have a theory. I’ve been thinking about the jarring absence of comedians within the furry fandom for a long time, and I think I have a pretty good explanation for why things are the way they are.
There’s a total of four things you need to be a good comedian.
Number one: Empathy. You have to understand how other people think and feel in order to be effective at your job. You have to understand what other people expect in order to subvert their expectations.
If you lack empathy, your only recourse in comedy is shock value and edginess. This is why every conservative comedian sounds like a failed–but never aborted–clone of the same uninteresting personality.
Number two: Wit. You can’t sustain a viable career in comedy by parroting the same half-baked ideas you read in minions memes shared by your parents and grandparents on Facebook.
You’ve gotta have a way with words. Wit must follow from empathy because, once you’ve looked at the world through the lens of your audience, you have to be clever enough to interest them.
Being empathetic but sincere and somber is how you might show a friend you care about them. The recipe for good comedy calls for being empathetic, but also clever and playful. And extra garlic! These are not mutually exclusive personality traits.
Empathy, wit. So far so good. A lot of furries have both. In spades! (And sometimes neuters.)
Number three: Rebelliousness. This is related to wit, but important enough to be its own list item. A lot of jokes require exaggeration or a subversion of expectations. This often requires being aware of unspoken social rules, stating them, and then promptly breaking them.
Could you imagine an armed bank robber being sternly told to leave and come back with a mask? That joke hits different during the pandemic.
The last thing you need to have in order to be a good comedian is crushing, crippling depression and no real viable coping mechanism.
I’m talking about the deep-rooted, hollowing feeling of despair. That real numbness to joy and sensitivity to pain that many of us carry. And the deeper you dive and the more crushing your despair becomes, the more you desperately seek some sense of validity in your self-worth. And everyone you know and see seems to be depressed too. Your empathy only leads you deeper and deeper into the darkness. Your wit only serves to remind you how fucked our world is. Your rebelliousness doesn’t help you here, it just makes it easier to discard people’s kind words as ignorant or insincere. But then you say something, and people laugh. So you say more things, and some of the things make people laugh, and others do not. So you say, “Okay, let’s scrap that crap and say more of the good stuff.” And before you know it, you’re soliciting riotous laughter from the audience.
Or so I’ve been led to believe. The link between comedians and depression isn’t exactly novel. They don’t like talking about it, but most comedians have suffered from depression. Even the “greats” like George Carlin often showed an underlying despair about the world in their work, especially as their careers progressed and nothing seemed to change.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “But there are so many depressed furries! If that’s all it takes beyond empathy, wit, and rebelliousness, why don’t we have more furry comedians?”
This is where my actual theory comes in:
Our subculture doesn’t cultivate comedians because the furry fandom is an escapism that, when indulged in, prevents you from succumbing to the deep despair that comedy acts are forged in.
That isn’t to say that we don’t have furry humor. We have lots of that. We have furry memes, we have furry puns, and we have a lot of wholesome jokes. Some furries even have inside jokes about specific fursona species choices and their associated scents.
But if you’re holding out on a furry debuting a new stand-up comedy act at the next post-COVID furry convention, don’t look for it. They’re too happy for that. (How gay of us!)
Isn’t it deeply ironic that being deeply embedded in a culture that’s often the butt of so many jokes, we’re too damn happy to make a career out of humor? Maybe the furry fandom is one big joke after all. Who needs comedians when your life’s a joke?
This blog post was emphatically not endorsed by vampires, for obvious reasons.
Two weebs and a furry walk into a bar. All three have been vaccinated against COVID-19. They have a good time and walk out as friends, and don’t owe you anything more than that.