Comedy has always been a part of protest movements. Just this week in Birmingham, a stand-up comic Jermaine ‘Funnymaine’ Johnson spearheaded a movement to remove a confederate monument. Throughout the 60s, comedian Dick Gregory was a vital part of the civil rights movement as well as a stand-up comic. Lenny Bruce was a pioneer for free speech and social justice.
The wellRED Comedy team of Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan, and Corey Ryan Forrester have also used their comedy to push for a better world. They’re three white guys from Appalachia who have turned Southern comedy on its head.
On this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview, we discuss Southern comedy, including a draft of Southern comics, and we discuss George Floyd and the current protest movement. And why it’s important for groups of white men — like us — to be active and hold each other accountable with conversations like this.
Like all their work, it’ll make you think. But hopefully it’ll make you laugh too.
You can download and listen to the whole conversation on Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Just a warning before we get started, we do use a lot of bad language in this episode so it’s up to you whether you want to listen with kids present. Subscribe today so you don’t miss out on the rest of the season.
Here are an excerpt from the episode to get you started.
Trae Crowder on policing
When I lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, I had this neighbor who is a guy that’s a couple years younger me – and I was in my mid 20s at the time – so you know, guy in his early 20s, who hadn’t really had… he was one of those guys who like hadn’t had any one job for longer than a few months or something at that point in his life and liked live with his parents and whatnot. And then I remember he got into like the police academy and went through police academy training and all this and became a cop there.
And we both went to the same gym and I saw him at the gym after that happened. And I was like, ‘how’s the cop thing going, man?’ and he said “oh, it didn’t work out.” And at first, in my head, I was like, “yeah, that checks out.” Literally just because it was a job, you know what I mean? Like… I just thought that’s what’s going on. But I was like, “Oh, really what happened?” And he said, you know, he had finally got like on shift or whatever. And early on, he got in a situation where he needed to draw his weapon. And he said, he told me in that moment, “I realized very clearly, that I do not have inside of me whatever you have to have in order to shoot another human being. And so, I knew that I wasn’t cut out for it.”
When he told me that story at the time a few years ago, I gained a lot of respect for the guy, which I still think that’s a valid response to that. But the other night when I told that story to Drew and another friend, Drew’s response to it was, “Well, it sounds like the wrong cop quit.” And, and like, I think that’s like kind of indicative of the whole issue. I think that happens a lot. There’s just…like to him he knew, you know, after having been through the academy, and whatnot, “If I can’t kill somebody, then I can’t do this job.” You know what I mean? When like, those are exactly the types of people that you would prefer be cops. But it’s just indicative of this underlying like, cultural thing that they have in that world, it seems to me like.
To see which comedians Trae, Drew and Corey drafted to their all-time greats lists, listen to the full episode here.