The Standups: Gina Yashere (2018) – Full Transcript

Fierce London-born comic Gina Yashere riffs on America TV shows, her first trip to Alabama and her overprotective mother's scrapbook of horrors.

[announcer] And now, coming to the stage, Gina Yashere!

[“Afro Puffs” by The Lady of Rage plays]

Oi, oi! Oi, oi! What’s happening, Los Angeles? Good to be back. Good to be back. I don’t know if you know this, guys. I used to live here. I lived in L.A. for a few years. Yes, I did. I lived in Los Angeles for a while. Loved it, loved the lifestyle. Beautiful. Had to leave, though. Had to leave. I’m not Hollywood. I’m not Hollywood. Look at this. This… This is not the Hollywood look. This is not. There’s two looks for black women in Hollywood. You either look like Halle Berry… Or Precious. And there’s no… There’s no sliding scale! I used to get the most ridiculous auditions when I was in Hollywood. This was an audition I got sent for. I’m not even making this up. This was the name of the character. Ghetto Hoochie Number Three. I had one line. Do you wanna hear the line? [audience] Yeah! “N i g g a, it’s not your baby!” That was… I said to my agent, “I will not say that. I refuse. I will not say it. I’ve got integrity, I’m a black woman. I will not do it.” And then I saw the money. And I was like, “N i g g a, it’s not your baby!” Do you think I’ll get promoted to Ghetto Hoochie One? What do you think?

So, it’s good to be back. So, I don’t know if you… Some of you look a bit confused. Did you know there were black people in England? Did you? We are everywhere. You look confused, though, sir. You’re looking up at me, like, “Is that Idris Elba? What is happening?” I know! From London, England! Born and raised. Obviously, black people are not indigenous to England. My mum came from Nigeria. West Africa. No! Don’t cheer that shit! She went from Nigeria to England. What the fuck was she thinking? My mum had the pick of the globe. She could’ve gone anywhere in the world. I imagine my mum in Nigeria with all her maps spread out before her. “Where shall I go? Where shall I go? You know what? I am fed up with the sunshine. I want to go somewhere with a lot of drizzle… and subtle racism. That’s what I want, subtle.”

I don’t know if you know this, Americans, but the Brits are the best at racism. They’re the best! They’re better than you, Americans. They’re so good, you don’t even know you’re being discriminated against. They are fucking ninja racist! And that’s why I prefer good, old-fashioned, American racism. Yeah, I said it, America. I prefer it. It’s in your face. You know where you stand with American racism. You guys have even made movies to let me know where I’m welcome and where I’m not. For instance, I know I’m never going to fucking Mississippi. I’ve seen the films! Having said that, though… my manager did recently put some shows in my calendar… for Birmingham, Alabama. [audience oohs] I know! I saw that in my calendar and I was like, “Fuck, no!” And then I saw the money. And I said, “We shouldn’t be so quick to judge. We should give the people a chance.” So, I went to Birmingham, Alabama, people! It was all right, I had a good time. I experienced that Southern hospitality, the shows were great, and they put me in a very nice hotel. Very nice. I was very surprised by this. I’ll tell you why. I’m from England. All I know about Alabama is from your movies, so I wasn’t expecting to be staying in no nice hotel. I was expecting to be staying in a shack, on a swamp… run by some guy wearing overalls… who referred to me as “boy”! That’s what I was expecting. I was surprised by the hotel. I thought, “Oh, this is lovely! This is very civilized. This is wonderful.” I basically treated Alabama the way white people treat Africa the first time they go. You know, white people. You turn up in Africa for the first time… “Wow! They have cars and shoes and shit.” That’s how I was in Alabama. I was like, “Wow! They have electricity and teeth! This…” Lot of black people in Alabama. That shocked me. I was surprised by that. I was like, “Wow! Lot of black people.” I got off the plane, saw the black people, and I ran up to them, I was like that. “You know you can leave, right? You don’t even have to go underground. You could just drive!

I’m learning a lot. So, born and raised, London, England. My mother emigrated from Nigeria to England, had us all in England. So, she was super overprotective. Was very ambitious for us as well. ‘Cause when you have your kids in another country, you want the best. My mum was scared that stuff was gonna happen to us. Like, she was over-the-top, crazy overprotective. I’ll give you an example. This is God’s honest truth. My mother… used to keep a scrapbook… of bus and train crashes. Yeah, I’ll repeat that. A scrapbook of bus and train crashes. Whenever there was an accident, she’d cut the story out of the newspaper, and she’d put it in a special book, and she would use that book to deter us from going places. She used that for everything! “Mum, can I go on a school trip?” She’d be like… [clears throat] “Do you see these children? Look at them. They are all dead. You know why they are dead? Because they wanted to go on a school trip. Their mother said, ‘No, don’t go!’ But they wouldn’t listen. Now, look at them. Dead, dead. Look at them! Dead-y dead. Super dead. Look at their dead faces! Dead! Dead-y dead, dead, dead. Dead-y dead. Super dead. Dead da-da, dead, dead-y. Dead, dead.” She’d use that book for everything. “Mum, can I play in the park?” “You see these children? Look at them. Dead! Dead-y dead! Know why they’re dead? Because they went to play in the park. And they all caught hay fever and died. Dead! Dead!” We once had a school trip to the Tower of London. We lived in an area of London called Tower Hamlets. You can probably tell from the name, it was very close proximity to the Tower of London. I was like, “Mum, look, it’s there. It’s… Look. It’s there. You can hold my hand from the house as I walk in. It’s there.” “You see these children? Look at them, look at them. Dead. Dead! You know why they’re dead? Because they went to the Tower of London. And they were all beheaded by Henry VIII’s ghost. Dead. Dead!”

Super overprotective. Didn’t understand a lot of western culture. My mum did not understand the concept of Halloween. She was like, “Halloween? What is this devil business, Halloween? Trick or– What is this trick or treating? So, let me understand. You are running around the neighborhood at night… dressed as a cartoon character… banging on people’s doors… begging. Making people think your mother cannot afford confectionery. There will be no trick or treating. You can trick or treat in the house. You can come and bang on my door and ask me for confectionery. And then I will say, ‘No, go to bed.'”

So, I ran away. And I live in America now. ♪ America! ♪ ♪ Fuck, yeah! ♪ That should’ve been your national anthem, Americans. How much more fun would the Olympics have been… if your athletes could’ve gone up on the podium and just gone… ♪ America! ♪ ♪ Fuck, yeah! ♪ Since I was six, I have wanted to live in America. Tell you why. In England, we got all your TV shows and movies, and it looked like American kids were having a great life! You had the coolest clothes, the manicured lawns, and it looked like every American kid rode around on cool bicycles, solving crimes. And I’d be watching that in England, going, “Fuck!” ‘Cause I’m from London. That’s how six-year-olds speak. “Fuck!” American kids were allowed to be detectives! “I want to go to America and become a child sleuth!” Looked like you guys were having a great time! Every TV show I watched was like, kids going, “What do you wanna do after school?” “I don’t know.” “Let’s go to the beach and hang out with Brad and Chad.”

And then you guys would frolic to the beach. American kids were always frolicking! Do you know what after-school activity was for me in London? I’ll tell you. It was, “Mike and John… have found a white dog shit behind the shed. Let’s all go look at it.” And then, we’d all gather around this white dog shit. And we’d poke it with a stick for seven hours. Some of you look a little bit confused. You don’t know what a white dog shit is. Doesn’t exist in America. It’s weird. White dog shit is really a thing. In England, in the ’80s, ’cause I Googled this shit… In England in the ’80s, apparently, we fed our dogs too much calcium. So, when they shit on the street, as dogs did, in the good old days… Days when you didn’t have to scoop your dog poo up in a bag and carry around warm shit for seven hours. So, when dogs pooed on the street, their poo turned white, and had a crumbly texture. And I knew this ’cause I spent seven hours poking it with a stick. Listen, if you’ve learned nothing from this comedy show this evening… you’ve learned of the existence of white dog shit. Go Google that shit. You’ll be amazed.

So, I couldn’t wait to leave England, leave white dog shit behind… Go to America, ’cause it looked like you guys were having a fantastic time. Every TV show and movie was kids going, “Oh, my God. What am I gonna wear to the prom?” And I was like, “What is this ‘prom’ that they speak of? It sounds amazing! Every kid in America spends school life worrying about the prom, it must be the best party ever! I wanna go to America! I wanna go to the prom. I wanna be picked up in a limousine, and given a corsage, and driven to the prom, and we dance all night, and then we win king and queen of the prom.” Because in every movie, winning king and queen of the prom is just amazing. Well, except in the movie Carrie. But in every other movie… winning king and queen of the prom is amazing! And then we leave the prom in triumph, we get in the limo, we drive to Make Out Point, and then fuck in the back of that limo. ‘Cause every movie ended with the couple in the back, overlooking the city, having sex. Then the movie would end before the Planned Parenthood scene.

We didn’t have proms in England. You know what we had in England? We had discos that kids got stabbed at. That’s what we had. So, it was my dream… to come to America and fuck in the back of a limo. And I finally made it to America… Then you guys voted for Trump, and now I’m getting deported. Fuck you, Americans! You know, I am four out of six things that Trump hates. Four out of six. Black. Female. Immigrant. Gay. Four out of six. The only two that I don’t have is I’m not Muslim, and my name is not Lopez. That’s it. ‘Cause I was out of the country on tour, trying to get back into America, when the Trump travel ban came in. And I’m on the plane, watching it on the news, and I’m like, “Shit! They’re not gonna let me back in America! I’m an immigrant… and I can’t do an American accent for shit! I am not Idris Elba.” And I thought, “The only way I can get back into the country is, when I land, let ’em know for sure… that I’m not a Muslim. ‘Cause as we all know, Muslim is the new black. That should be a TV show right there. Muslim is the New Black. They’ve already got the orange jumpsuits. Not much of a jump. You know it’s true. So, I was thinking on the plane, “Okay, when I land in America, I gotta let ’em know that I’m the old black.” So, when that plane landed at JFK, I walked through the airport with my breasts out, wearing a yarmulke. It worked! I got back into America! ♪ America! ♪ ♪ Fuck, yeah! ♪

So, I live in New York City now. New York City! I like New York. I’m from London. Look, London, New York, very similar cities. New York is just a bigger… crazier… filthier version… of London, ’cause New York is filthy. It’s a dirty city. It’s a dirty, dirty city. It’s a filthy… dirty city. It’s a dirty, filthy, shit hole of a city. New York is a fucking swamp! A cesspool of a city. It’s a dump! It’s a dirty, shitty city. It’s filthy! You know, there’s no alleyways in New York. No alleyways. So, in New York, on trash day, which in New York is every fucking day… they just throw their trash out onto the sidewalks. Bags of trash! They just throw it! So, the streets are just lined with bags of trash. It’s terrifying! I’ll tell you why. I’m scared. When I’m walking home in the night, I don’t walk on the sidewalk. I walk in the middle of the road. ‘Cause I don’t wanna walk… ‘Cause you walk by those trash bags… And then they start to rustle… And then a massive rat will just pop out. “What’s up, Idris?”

It’s a filthy city! And so expensive! So expensive. I didn’t realize New York would be so expensive. ‘Cause I’m like, shit hole of a city. I assumed Los Angeles would be more expensive, ’cause when I came from England, Los Angeles was my first choice. Like, “I’m not making the same mistake my mum made. I’m going to L.A. I want sunshine!” You guys have only got one season here. Sunny sun, sun, sun! So, I was like, “I’m going to L.A.!” And I assumed it was gonna be super expensive. I did. I thought it was and it wasn’t. I had a very nice lifestyle while here. Like, you know, I had a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment… like, gym, concierge… underground parking for two cars. Rooftop pool… overlooking the Hollywood sign. Yeah, every Facebook and Instagram picture for three years, was me just posing by the pool. I never went in it, ’cause I’m black, but I posed the hell out of it. $1,700 a month, I paid for that. Which is a pretty good price! Pretty good for L.A. It’s decent. So, when I was moving to New York, I was like, “Well, New York is a dump… I should get way more for my money in New York! In New York I’m gonna get an apartment with two pools… for $1,700.”

Now, what I didn’t tell you before was when I was living in L.A., I met my girlfriend while I was living in L.A. She– That’s her. And… So, she… was living in New York. We did the long distance thing for a year, and then I was moving to New York. And she was like, “Great! You can move in with me. I’ve got a house in Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy.” And I was like, “Bitch, no. Bed-Stuy? I don’t wanna live where Jay-Z lived when he was not successful. I’m going to the Upper East Side… I’m getting an apartment with two pools for $1,700.” And she was like, “Oh, really? I’m gonna come with you while you view these apartments.” And then, she followed me around for three weeks, and watched me make a fucking dick of myself. And I was so cocky, as well, so cocky. I’m just walking in… “Oh, this? Upper East Side? Only one pool? [gags] It’s adequate. All right. How much?” And the guy was like, “$12,000 a month.” And I was like, “You misunderstand me, sir. I only want one.” And then I had to start looking at apartments within my budget. And holy shit! You can’t get nothing for $1,700 a month in New York that’s decent. Unless you want to live with 27 other comedians. Everything I looked at was worse than the last, which is horrible. One apartment, I was like, “Sir, did you actually know that you were showing this apartment today? ‘Cause, quite frankly, it looks incomplete. Looks like we stumbled onto a construction site. This is ridiculous!” One apartment was so filthy, the cockroach opened the door and showed me around. “Come on in. Come on in. This is our room, and…” After 10 shitty apartments, I turned to my girlfriend, like, “You know what? I’m in love, and I think we should make a life for ourselves in Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy, in your house. Bed-Stuy, do or die, motherfucker.”

So, that’s right, I live in New York with me girlfriend. That conversation didn’t go too well when I had to tell my mum. I came out to my mum, was not a great conversation. ‘Cause she’s, as I said, super ambitious. Wanted the best for us, so, like, I was supposed to be the doctor. And… then I found out I couldn’t stand the sight of blood. Then I switched to engineer, and my mum went, “Okay, that’s good. That is on the list of African jobs, okay.” And then I decided I wanted to become a comedian. I thought, “Well, she ain’t gonna like that. I might as well come out to her, and go for the double whammy.” My mum was like, “What? What are you telling me? You are telling me… that my daughter… is a gay clown. You see these children? Look at them. They are all dead. They’re dead. Because they became gay clowns. There are no gay clowns in Nigeria. Clowns are creepy.” So, I’m in America. ♪ America! ♪ ♪ Fuck, yeah! ♪

I like America. I’ve learned a lot about you. I’ve been studying you. I’ve learned much. What have I learned? Like, in America… when you guys get fat… you get really fucking fat. Like, humongous. Like, cartoon fat. Like… I saw a documentary the other day where a guy got cut out of his house. You guys get cut-out-of-your-house fat! Some of you have gone very quiet. You’re like, “Was it a bungalow? Was it an apartment?” It was a house! They cut open his house! At some point, this guy looked in the mirror and gone, “You know what? I ain’t fat until they have to take the roof off this bitch!”

I admire your tenacity, Americans. It’s not your fault. I watch all your commercials. All your commercials are food. Food! And it’s not good food, it’s all shit food. I saw a commercial the other day for pizza. Now, pizza… is a traditionally Italian dish. Flat bread, tomato, bit of cheese… Maybe an olive. Not this American pizza. This commercial’s like, “This is an American motherfucking pizza! We don’t just have olive, we have beef and cheese and chicken and steak and bacon and beef and cheese and chicken and steak and bacon and beef and cheese and chicken! We don’t just have cheese on the pizza, we have cheese inside the motherfucking crust of that motherfucking pizza! Because this is an American, motherfucking pizza! $1.99.”

Judging by all the commercials for pharmaceutical products, you guys are pretty sick as well. The powers that be love to put out this image of black men on street corners selling drugs. And it’s a bullshit myth. These pharmaceutical companies are the biggest drug dealers on the planet! Yeah, and they’re doing it legally! Legally. They have these meetings every year. They go, “Okay, we got this new drug. We need an illness to go with this drug.” And that’s how illnesses are made, people! You see those commercials that come on in the night. Trying to convince you you’re ill. “Do you find… that your eyes… close at night? Then you need Oxy-moxy-lixy-loxy-loxy-lixy-trip. Side effects may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, menstruation in men, and death.” Why would you buy a drug with death as one of the side effects? You’re buying drugs with worse side effects than the illness you’re trying to heal. I saw a commercial for an anti-depressant, and one of the side effects… was suicidal thoughts. You might as well save your money… and have your suicidal thoughts for free. You’re buying drugs… Worse side effects. It doesn’t make any sense. You’re like, “I am bleeding through my anus, yes, but I no longer have fungal toe nails.”

I sound angry, I know. I sound angry. I’ll tell you why. I’m from England. We have free health care in England. Free. Free health care. Everybody pays a little extra tax, everybody gets health care. You get sick, you go to the hospital. You come out of hospital, you haven’t lost your house. It’s amazing! I can’t understand how expensive health care is in America. It’s a scam. Whole thing’s a scam. An ambulance in America can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000. For an ambulance to take you to the hospital. I’m sorry, if I got into an accident tomorrow… Ambulance turned up, I’d be like, “Get the fuck out of my face, ambulance guy. Get out of here with your glorified van. I’ve still got one arm working. I’m gonna get my phone out, and I’m gonna summon an UberXL…”

You guys are awesome! Good night! Thank you!

[“Afro Puffs” by The Lady of Rage plays]

♪ I rock rough and stuff With my Afro puffs ♪
♪ Rage! Rock on with your bad self ♪
♪ I rock rough and stuff With my Afro puffs ♪
♪ Rage! Rock on with your bad self ♪
♪ I rock on with my bad self ‘Cause it’s a must ♪
♪ It’s the Lady Of Rage Still kicking up dust ♪
♪ So let me loosen up my bra strap ♪
♪ And let me boost ya with my raw rap ♪
♪ ‘Cause I’mma break it down To the nitty-gritty one time ♪
♪ When it comes to the lyrics I gets busy with mine ♪
♪ Busy as a beaver, ya best believer ♪
♪ This grand diva’s runnin’ shit With the speed of a cheetah ♪
♪ Meet a lyrical murderer ♪
♪ I’m serving ’em like two scoops of chocolate… ♪


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