The audience at Denver’s Comedy Works never flinched during Ryan Long’s sold-out performance Sunday night.
Not once. And it wasn’t for Long’s lack of trying.
The YouTube star known for his anti-woke broadsides hit topics that would have sent your average snowflake scrambling for her “safe space.”
- Pegging (don’t ask)
- School shootings
- Trans school shooters
The Canadian comic has trained his flock to expect cutting-edge jokes without a filter. It’s why his sketch videos deliver more laughs than today’s “Saturday Night Live” ever could. Plus, there’s something about Long’s demeanor that makes the wildest joke seem tame.
The mischievous smile certainly helps. He also lacks the inner rage that made Sam Kinison so combustible. That, combined with his skater dude mien complete with a backwards ball cap, demands we don’t take him seriously.
That doesn’t mean his act lacks a hearty helping of the truth.
Does anyone know a good lawyer was just discriminated against at this clinic – they did a test and then 4 guards escorted me out saying that places like this aren’t ‘for my kind pic.twitter.com/a5C9m1zacA
— Ryan Long (@ryanlongcomedy) December 11, 2023
Long dissects the gender wars in ways that should feel stale but never do. We’ll never see an all-female moving company, he said, or women obsessing over videos of men’s genitalia like guys drooling over breast-feeding reels.
His quips lack ideological borders. He’ll mock a MAGA Republican before eviscerating an America-hating liberal.
He joked that the COVID-19 vaccine is “perfect,” but it wasn’t a sop to right-leaning fans. Why say it, then? It’s funny and speaks to a larger truth. Even if it might get someone banned from social media.
His fearless approach would shock the average comedy fan. He mentioned how school shooters are always male before segueing to the trans Nashville shooter who turned violent after embracing her male identity.
There’s a reason Long is persona non grata on “The Late Show,” “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Long mostly avoids political humor, but he did praise unpopular Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for being “alive,” referencing America’s Roomba-in-Chief Joe Biden.
Joe Biden roomba mode activated!
H/T: Shane Gillis. pic.twitter.com/oq0teUQ5fZ
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 14, 2023
He even snuck in a Hunter Biden joke without immediately shifting to an Orange Man Bad reference.
What’s fascinating about Long’s approach as 2023 ends is that he’s aware of today’s comedy landscape. Some jokes are deemed off-limits. The same holds true for select topics.
He knows the “rules” but refuses to follow them. No apologies. No surrender. The woke mob doesn’t even try to cancel him.
Need an example? A tortured but funny bit about Americans imitating Chinese accents jumps to mind. Or how he dismissed Hugh Hefner’s playmates for suddenly realizing their benefactor was a misogynist.
Own it, ladies.
What Long possesses is the wit to pull off demanding bits without a stumble. His confidence comes from years on stage and his fans knowing to expect the unexpected.
Or just stay home.
Long never lost the audience, no matter how incendiary the material proved. Yet when he asked attendees if they treat people the same way regardless of their race the crowd suddenly went mum.
That all-American sentiment, famously espoused by civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., proved too much for even a Long crowd.