Here’s a recent piece from New York Magazine that smartly rounds up a good cross-section of stand-up comics to ask them the question: What joke of yours do you most regret? The answers, from both veterans and younger comics, are varied, complex, and wise to the core. Obviously, subjects like social effects on comedy in the digital age, identity politics, PC-ness, and the limited value of shock are all covered in one form or another in their responses. Their answers also read much like having a heart-to-heart with a seasoned visual artist about his or her past or early works, and the evolution of their own art based on hard-won experience.
This is the creative process, and whether you’re a comedian, a writer, a filmmaker, a composer, a visual artist, et. al. — the learning curves are steep and the audience is watching.
“…I’ve realized the most important thing, for me, is building material from a real feeling or thought. If I’m onstage talking about something that I don’t actually care about, it doesn’t matter how clever the joke is — it’ll never be great.” – Sabrina Jalees
“… if you start becoming what you think the audience wants, you can end up as a very lame person.” – Jake Flores
“Comedians who grow with the times and allow themselves a change of heart on matters are more human to me, more connected to the zeitgeist, and therefore more interesting to watch. I want to see someone grow as a human and explore who they think they are with their comedy. The guys who complain about not being able to do rape jokes anymore seem like dudes who forgot to keep growing.” – Kyle Kinane
“I’m rarely embarrassed by anything offensive I do, but I’m very embarrassed when I’ve done something lazy. …Nothing ever stays the same, especially if you’re in the creative business. You either accept that and evolve, or you die.” – Patton Oswalt
Link to the full article is here.