Comedians are never shy when it comes to expressing their opinions. This especially holds true for comedian, author, and political contributor, Aaron Berg. And I am very thankful for that. Berg recently stopped by to talk politics, his new book, and one of the great things about this country – free speech.
Thanks, Aaron, for taking the time. You have a new book coming out called “American Etiquette: Failing Upwardly In a Fox News Nation,” this September. This book is a work of satire but with satire, there is always some truth behind it. With Donald Trump leading the GOP nomination, this book can really be a work of non-fiction, don’t you think?
The book is very impartial as it’s a satirical stance on what liberals think of conservatives. That being said, some truths echo on a bi-partisan level. I’m an immigrant (the northern kind….relax) and I believe that this country is amazing. To call it ‘the greatest country in the world’ would be ignorant (merely because of health care, education, welfare etc.), but I think that there are some inherent things that make America great and one of those things is ‘full blown, unadulterated, get your face all sticky and your glasses all icky with it CAPITALISM.’ Trump represents that. He may not have come from nothing to become a billionaire, but he is a billionaire.
In America it’s less about how you get there than the fact that you got there. Trump is here. Of course anybody with a political inkling in their body will have to decide whether his view of America as a Moneyball nation is truly better than it becoming an Independent nation. But let’s leave that to Sean Hannity to discuss in between race segments.
Aside from having a new book, you’re also a stand-up comedian who has traveled around the country. Of all the things you’ve heard from everyday people, what’s the most outrageous thing you’ve heard somebody say?
I was in Greenwich Village standing outside of a show with Neko White. I’m a Jewish comic and he’s a Black comic. We are allowed to work the same shows….this isn’t a country club in the 70’s.
A patron left the show somewhat disgruntled at the diversity offered to him as a comedy fan. He did not know that Neko and I were comics since we were yet to grace the stage. He walked past us and yelled, for all of MacDougal Street between Minetta Lane and Bleeker to hear, ‘Don’t go in there, it’s full of niggers and spics and Jews.’ Neko and I starting singing the song from Wizard of Oz (lions and Tigers and Bears oh my), but we changed the words to niggers and spics and Jews.
That story would be much more politically correct if we had a spic comic with us!
In all seriousness, if you were running for office, with the country as bi-partisan as it is, what would your platform be?
I would keep separate servers for emails. I’d run like Trump…. BERG 2016 - Ignorant yet blissful!
I used to say that in my lifetime I’d never see an African-American President or a woman President. From the way things are going, both may happen. Do you think Hillary Clinton has a realistic chance to win the presidency?
Where did you used to say these things? Hate group meetings in Alabama??? Was it hard to hear these things you said because you were in the back of a pickup truck holding a confederate flag chasing ‘the help’?
If you said those things now, you would get a strongly worded letter from the Huffington Post women/African-American division. I’m kidding. (I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR!) But seriously….. A woman President will happen soon. It won’t be Hillary Clinton. This country is about to go Republican for 4-8 years. Buy stocks!
You used to be a competitive bodybuilder. How did you go from that world to comedy? They seem to be completely different.
I had a job in between the two that helped me transition. I was a stripper in Canada. That was a perfect segue way between the two lifestyles as it valued narcissism and body image, but performance was also paramount. Bodybuilding is competitive and I took that into stand-up with me which was a bad idea. You learn after a while that the key to success is just to focus on your own shit.
Early on in stand-up I was always trying to be better than other comics and that impeded my growth. I never had a sense of community in my early years as a comic. Now I truly value my comedic friends and colleagues.
For an upcoming documentary, you’re going to break the Guinness World Record for most comedy shows in a night. First of all, what is the record and who holds it?
We just found out that the actual record is for most jokes told in a day. That record is 3000-ish. I will not be breaking that record. We are breaking an old comic-record set by Steve Byrne. Steve did 13 sets in one night. I’ve contacted Guinness and we will be setting this record if they accept it. I’m aiming for a minimum of 20 sets in one night.
Secondly, is each show going to be different or are you going to travel around the area doing essentially the same set?
I refuse to do the same set. It’s going to be confusing because I do so much crowd work and free-association that I’m sure I’ll repeat myself accidentally at least once I that night. Every set will be completely different based on the crowd but some lines will pop up throughout the evening.
You’ve done some acting, writing, stand-up, and commentary. What medium do you like doing best and why?
Stand-up. Especially now because people get shocked by words and I love shocking them and making them laugh. I love saying what you’re not supposed to say. I crave acting once or twice a year just to modify artistic expression, but stand-up is king!
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the novels, The Extraordinary Life of Shady Gray, Hello Lesbian!, Hello Fabulous!, and Anonymous. Visit him at www.tanamor.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.