I was on stage at a cool little hipster bar in the gritty mission district named, The Make-Out Room. I was doing a joke about San Francisco outlawing toys in happy meals. It started out with my sister making fun of San Francisco by saying, "What's wrong with you people? You outlawed toys in happy meals!" I couldn't finish the joke because a young hispanic girl in the front said, "I hate it when people say, you people!"
I asked her "It's usually one of my people that says something like, you people to people like you isn't it?"
She smile and nodded.
I asked, "Do people say that to you when you're alone?"
I think I figured out one of the causes behind racism. If someone is saying the problem is "you people" to one person, I bet they are drinking heavily and have double vision. Thats why they are freaked out. They think there are more minority people than there actually is. You see, the problem isn't racism, its alcoholism.
I asked her, "When was the last time someone yelled at you, You people?"
Without hesitation she quickly responded, "A guy fell off a roof."
The audience started laughing along with me.
She didn't just answer the question with an unexpected response, it's that she said, fell off the roof, with air quotes around it.
"Did he actually fall off the roof?" I asked.
"Yes!" she responded as if I was asking a crazy question.
"Well, if he actually fell off the roof I don't think you can use air quotes. That means he didn't actually fall off the roof. It means you're using it as a metaphor or some phrase we all know means something else so, did he fall off the roof or did he, fall off the roof?" I asked, complete with air quotes around the final, fell off the roof.
The crowd laughs, she turns a charming shade of red and meekly responds, "No, he really fell off the roof."
"And someone blamed, you people, for this even though it was just you standing there? Are you sure you didn't push him off the roof or something?"
"No, he just fell off a roof and I was standing there."
I thought for a moment and said. "So a guy falls off a roof, lands next to you and some other person looks at the guy who fell off the roof on the ground, then turns to you and yells out, what's wrong with you people?"
She nods her head yes.
"There has to be more to the story!" I say.
It quickly reminds me of a scene I witnessed in golden gate park once. Two men were sitting on a bench having a conversation. I couldn't hear what they were saying but one of them raised his arms to make air quotes around some point he was making. The reason it stuck out in my mind was, he was missing his left hand. That makes that sentence grammatically incorrect. It's a run on sentence, right? The quote is never closed. If he was telling me a story and used air quotes around something like, you people..., I could only sit there and wait.
And all of this happened with my camera sitting in the car. Damn. I broke my own rule about recording every show. You never know what will happen in a show.