Some topics in comedy can go from ripe to rotten. If your act used racist or sexist stereotypes, it was probably pretty funny to people in the 50's and even 60's. But eventually, those jokes stopped being funny… to people on the West Coast and the East Coast. I hear that you can take jokes to the heartland that would have you boo'd off stage in San Francisco. This is the "Men are.. and women are…" comedy.. the "black people are.. whereas white people are.." It's also a very "You people are.." kind of feel.
Or you can take Tina Fey's stance when she became the youngest person ever (age 40 at the time) to win the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Upon winning she declared, "I hope that, like Mark Twain, people will see my work 100 years from now and say, 'Wow, that is actually pretty racist.' " She came in 39th place for the 100 Most Creative People in Business this year, perhaps because she has a handle on both universally relevant topics and taking risks with potentially ripe to rotten humor.
But what else is there? Well, we can use humor to be self-deprecating, to talk about our own feelings… It's likely that it'll continue to be funny for a long time.
ACTION: Write yourself a list of priorities or do some free writing about what's most important to you to convey so you can know for sure, "Yes, I want to be awesomely hip, and I don't care what people think about how I was in the future." or "No, I want my comedy to be a legacy for all of humanity for the next seven generations and to offend no one."
STAY TUNED: more tantalizing comedy secrets tomorrow! Also check out these series of How To's: