Published on June 29th, 2010 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Comedy journalism, meet John Mayer.

They say you never realize how inaccurate the media is until they report on something you have intimate knowledge of. I suspect there are a lot of New York comics reading the following story from the New York Daily News and are in the process of being not at all surprised:

THE second time’s a charm for John Mayer. The singer/songwriter again tried his hand at comedy at the downtown Comedy Cellar on Thursday night, the same place he bombed nearly four years ago.

This time, talent — or luck — was on Mayer’s side. The “Gravity” singer managed to do a solid 10 minutes of standup without making any racial slurs (as he did on his first go-round.). “I just hooked up with Kate Hudson,” Mayer said when he heard there was a reporter in the audience. “… with Megan Fox’s hand.” According to one Cellar dweller, Mayer “was really nervous right before he went on and kept checking over his notes that he brought onstage,” but went over fairly well with the crowd.

He wasn’t the night’s only surprise guest: Both Dave Chappelle and Daman Wayans followed him. Good thing Mayer didn’t follow Chappelle.

First of all, I love that the reporter is educated enough to realize Chappelle is tough to follow, but can’t spell Damon Wayans.

But how can anyone report that this is Mayer’s second appearance at the Cellar? Is this for real? I’m aware of more occasions that I can count, and the actual number is probably unknown even by him.

I also love that he clearly was fucking with the reporter in attendance, pretending to hand him a scandal on a silver platter. But regurgitations of this story phrase it as “jokes about Kate Hudson and Megan Fox”. Aaaaand that’s how shit gets started. Cue the “sexist douchebag” chorus.

Plus, the supposedly-offensive set from 2006 — based on was Gawker’s interpretation of some guy’s blogspot post and later disputed by Sherrod Small — has magically become factual.

photo by Sharilyn 'Mayer Apologist' Johnson

Aside from the journalistic fail, I’m also getting really sick of the judgment being passed on Mayer’s mere existence on the standup stage. Along with this story has come another round of venom spewed on Twitter by individuals in the industry who should know better. I assume these same people don’t have a habit of tearing down everyone who has 10 minutes, a notebook, and mistakes to learn from.

Sorry, kids, but the guy’s funny, and seemingly getting better. What is valid is criticism of his etiquette. He has not always gotten on stage – or off it – through graceful means. Accounts of his behavior from reliable sources have made even me want to slap him.

So if you’re going to snark? Snark about something legitimate. And for the love of God, New York, please be quicker on the draw with your cellphone cams. Make his performances speak for themselves, and make me stop writing posts like this.

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

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