How to be Funny While Fighting the Power with Comedian Mark James Heath

On Saturday August 30th, 2015, my fiancee and I embarked on what was an extremely overdue date night (that’s how life works when you have kids). I was invited to a comedy show at Yuk Yuks, and not wanting to do the same old dinner and a movie bit I decided to go. Now, I am a lover of comedy more than any other genre; whether it is in theater, movies or TV I just generally prefer to laugh rather than cry. However, I am also a very politically conscious person and therefore know that comedy, particularly stand up, can be very offensive, oppressive and insensitive to many demographics of people. As the show began that Saturday night the anti-oppressive trained, respectful of all people, part of me was struggling to hold back.

Most of the comics had many funny jokes however they got lost amid some of the more over-the -top, crude jokes that just left me feeling bad for even indulging. At some points I wasn’t even laughing. I thought perhaps that my days of watching stand up comedians would soon be over as I just couldn’t enjoy it in the same way anymore, being so politically conscious and everything. Finally the headlining act came out; his name was Mark James Heath.

In a 40 minute set Mark restored my ability to enjoy live comedy. His set was well thought out, had a nice flow,  really funny but most importantly touched on social issues through a comedic lens that had me thinking as much as it had me laughing. From discussions on the stereotypes black men face regarding raising children to calling out the Canadian genocide of Indigenous people, Mark was able to really bring up the issues without bringing down the mood of the audience. Even more impressive was his ability to keep the whole room engaged without having to be too loud, over the top or theatrical like the comedians who preceded him. Mark’s comedy can easily be compared to the type of popular, critical humor that we have come to see in comedian like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Jaime Oliver; and in a room where some people thought it was entertaining to make jokes about disabled people, Mark James Heath was  definitely a breath of fresh air.
For more info on Mark check him out on Facebook here

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