If I had a ten minute warning that all the uber-liberals in Chapel Hill were about to be scooped up and deposited in an internment camp on the backside of Pluto (the faux “planet”, not the Disney dog); the one of’em I would warn would be Aaron Keck.
As the Swiss Army Knife of WCHL” …. he “does everything” around WCHL / Chapelboro.com from “every” to “thing” and “any” thing in-between. Every radio station I’ve ever been around has a “that guy”…. Aaron is the only “that guy” in the radio biz that knows both Emo Phillips…. and me.
At a station like WCHL, everyone (if the 2-3 employees is an “every”) is a utility infielder with 3-4 gloves in his locker. If you can’t “work the board”….. fill-in “on-air”….. and say “I’m sure Jim didn’t mean to piss you off”; you won’t survive there. During the three years (….still amazed it lasted longer than three weeks.) I was a “Good Sport” for WCHL, I got to know and to enjoy Aaron Keck.
WCHL is going thru a re-branding / re-organization / re-structuring between Is Heavner REALLY Gone?… and Is the new billionaire owner from Napa Valley REALLY a friend of The Koch Brothers? Thru it all Aaron Keck and Ron Stutts are in charge of “avoiding dead-air” and saying “no, he/she doesn’t work here any more…. no, sorry, I don’t have their forwarding address.”
When one arrives in Chapel Hill in a not-a-student capacity, one is handed twenty-five assorted bumper stickers which MUST, by civic decree, be stickered all over your Prius’ bumper and back window. Why the back window…..?
Because a Prius’ bumper only accommodates about six stickers. The other nineteen have to go somewhere. The Village of Chapel Hill employs a transsexual albino warlock named Muriel to go around and make sure all the bumper stickers are stuck-on.
….. but if we are going to ask “Why” about everything in Chapel Hill we’ll NEVER get to what Aaron recently told me about stand-up comedians and college audiences.
All the uber-liberals in Chapel Hill are really really smart “because” – just “because”. What, you don’t believe me? Just ask any uber-liberal, they’ll tell you. They will also tell you (1) that “Benghazi” never happened ….. and (2) if it did, who cares…. and then they will call their friend with the IRS and tell’em to audit you for even asking.
Aaron Keck actually IS REALLY Smart. One Fall Saturday morning a few years ago we were sitting around wondering if Chansky would show up or not…. and Aaron mentioned a Stand-Up Comedy Festival he was organizing. I mentioned “Emo Phillips” who is the only far-out niche cult stand-up comedian’s name I could think of.
Aaron was flabbergasted that “the crazy right-wing guy” had heard of Emo Phillips. He shared an Emo-anecdote and Aaron and BobLee “bonded”.
I’m not sure our “bond” is strong enough that when Lord Obama turns loose his AYBM Street Militia to “go round-up” all the privileged white guys in North Raleigh that Aaron will use his influence to spare me and Blondie…. but he probably would before Kennel would. Kennel will give’em my GPS coordinates.
Aaron is from Michigan, I think…. and taught something at Rutgers for awhile, I think…. and now teaches something at Duke, I think…. along with keeping WCHL on-the-air. I KNOW he does that last thing.
Aaron also does those Dr Debbie “fingernails-on-a-blackboard” interviews each week on WCHL. He suggested having Dr Debbie and me on together. I said:
“Fine with me. but you’ll have better luck getting hold of Barack / Michelle’s college transcripts…. or figuring out how Vince Foster shot himself in the back of the head.”
So I asked my very smart uber-liberal friend Aaron Keck about this on-going issue of stand-up comedians not performing on college campuses because the audiences are such self-righteous, self-important vacuous nitwits.
Here is the article I sent him…. and here is what he said
BobLee’s Friend Aaron Keck re: Comedy on Campuses….
Those particular comments? Well, Carlos Mencia is a worthless hack, offending college students is Larry the Cable Guy’s whole shtick anyway, and Seinfeld and Maher’s comments are just hearsay, so those four comments aren’t worth thinking too much about…but Chris Rock and Patton Oswalt are both making good points. (Have you read Oswalt’s *entire* 53-tweet rant? If not, go find it. You’ll love it.)
There’s a lot of things going on with this issue. First of all, it’s not that comedy is getting more restricted – it’s that we’re changing our definition of what is “unacceptable.” “Back in the 50s and 60s”, Ricky could spank Lucy and Mickey Rooney could put on yellowface, but if you even so much as thought about sex, you were done”? Now it’s the other way around: you can be as sexually explicit as you want, but people get sensitive if you talk about race or gender. It’s not worse, it’s just different. Of course people do definitely have a tendency to get oversensitive – same as in the 50s with sex – and it’s irritating whenever that happens.
Patton Oswalt’s rant was inspired by a particular incident where people jumped on this other comic, I can’t remember who, but it was all over something innocuous he’d tweeted like five years earlier. The whole thing was stupid as hell and Patton was right to call people out on it. (Overall, though, it is still a lot freer today than it was 50 years ago. Daniel Tosh once invited his entire audience to rape a woman who was sitting in the crowd – and he got raked over the coals for it, but hey, he still has his own TV show. Meanwhile, Lenny Bruce is still dead.)
But besides all that, there’s a whole other thing going on with colleges. I read this article in the Atlantic a while back:
It’s worth reading, but the upshot is that college comedians are hired by people who work for student centers, using student activities fees, and so they’re actively trying to find entertainment that appeals to as many people as possible without leaving anybody out. So they end up hiring the cleanest, most inoffensive comics they can find, or at least demanding the comedians perform only their cleanest, most inoffensive material.
It’s all part of the larger issue that we’re treating college more and more like a business, and treating students more and more like “clients” – so rather than challenging them with facts and ideas that might make them uncomfortable, we’re sheltering them and keeping them in their comfort zone and only telling them what they want to hear.
Conservatives blame that on liberals, but really, both sides are complicit. Colleges are obsessed with being “safe spaces” for the exact same reason they’re pulling funds from the humanities and dumping it all in STEM classes. It’s all about the Business. The student is a Client. You don’t go to college to be challenged or to grow as a person, you go to college to get a Job. The college’s role is to cater to the Client’s demands, not to try to change them. The Client knows best. Etc.
I’m still kind of thinking all this out myself, so all that might be a little muddled. Oh, speaking of which, though – you should have been there on campus this afternoon. I went to a talk today called “The Carolina Way” that was being hosted by the Parr Center for Ethics. ….. Redacted …. Redacted ….. Redacted…. ….You would have loooved it. – A