Beck Krefting is a former stand-up comedian and the author of All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents. She is also a scholar at Skidmore College whose research interests include humor and laughter; she is currently working on a book about preppers/survivalists. Before participating in the Zócalo/UCLA panel “Has Political Correctness Really Killed Humor?”, she talked in the Zócalo green room about the offensive comedy she enjoys—and the comedy that truly offends her.
What’s your favorite plant or flower?
I really like succulents, just as a group, as a species. They’re fun, and I can’t keep them alive, which is distressing because it should be easy.
What sound do you find most annoying?
When you eat fried chicken and there’s grease on your fingers and you wipe it on a napkin—that squeaky sound. Ohhh it is awful, goosebumps, the whole nine yards. Nails on a chalkboard, fine. Grease on napkins, no.
What do teaching a college class and doing a stand-up show have in common?
Well they’re both a performance. Actually they’re the same thing. I’m more prepared for college, for a classroom, than I ever was on stage.
Beach or mountains?
What’s your favorite cliché?
A bird in the hand, because I have to remind myself that all the time, because I keep going out foraging, even when I have what I need.
How do you like your steak?
If I’m eating it, medium rare. If I’m sharing it with my wife, it’s got to be medium.
What was the most offensive routine you came across while researching All Joking Aside?
I find Sam Kinison pretty offensive at times. I also had to watch some Andrew Dice Clay, which was not highly enjoyable. I like some offensive comedy. I like comedy that is offensive when it comes to bodily fluids. I like a good fart joke just like the next guy. But I don’t prefer racism or bigotry writ large, so when I saw that, that was always distressing.
What’s your least favorite household chore?
Vacuuming. That’s why I don’t do it. I cook instead.
What cheese best describes you?
Stilton. Durable, a little stinky.