Beers brings the laughs

Comedian puts personal experience into his standup

Comedy is an underrated tool for social commentary. Few understand this better than comedian Michael Beers who, Monday afternoon, performed a free show that weaved his pointed message in with humorous anecdotes.

Beers finds comedy critical in analysis of the political landscape, “you need levity and humor when dealing with social issues,” said Beer mentioning the works of Richard Prior, George Carlin, Bill Hicks and Robin Williams. Beer also mentioned Sherman Alexi’s novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” which uses humor to examine modern Native American culture as an example of comedic social commentary.

“Comedy was a big part of my life growing up,” said Beers, explaining how it helped him get through the many surgeries he had early in life, “My adoptive father always had the most inappropriate joke at the most painful moment, it helped me a lot.”

Beers’ slung witty anecdote after witty anecdote about everything from the difference between white and Native American culture to uncomfortable interactions with people who treated him condescendingly because of his disability.

Beers also pointed out the difference between racism and ableism. Beers maintains that ableism is characterized by ignorance not hatred, “people are almost never malicious, just ignorant,” said Beers, relating an experience with a woman in a grocery store who offered him help condescendingly because of his disability.

Beers did, however, draw parallels between the treatment of Native Americans and the Disabled. “We try to isolate what we don’t understand,” said Beers, calling both the barbaric ‘schools’ for the disabled that were so prevalent in the past and Native American reservations “warehouses for people.”

Beers brought his show to a close with a clear call to action. “We need communication,” said Beers, “you can make buildings handicapped accessible but you cant make people talk to each other.”

Beers put his message into action by opening up the floor to a Q and A session. He fielded questions on a variety of topics from dealing with discrimination to his own ableism. “When it comes to ableism I am as guilty as any of you,” said Beers, elaborating on awkwardness when dealing with other people’s disabilities, “I have that ‘should I help them, should I leave them alone?’ Feeling same as anyone else.”