Mo’Nique has the spotlight right now, and she’s determined to keep it. In the midst of her feud with DL Hughley, the queen of comedy has not missed an opportunity to plug upcoming shows and events. However, she recently issued a stern warning to fans who may be planning to record her next gig.
As we’re all well aware, video footage of Mo’Nique’s rant at her comedy show at the Fox Theater in Detroit went viral. In the clips, Mo’Nique got on stage and blacked out in anger after believing that DL Hughley and the show promoters had jipped her out of her perceived headlining spot. She’s since used the spotlight as a way to air out past grievances with DL and mount a crusade that she and her husband argue is for the greater good of anyone coming up behind her.
During a recent video, Mo’Nique told fans that her stage time is sacred to her. She believes her sets are like therapy sessions and uses them to help her vent and cure any depression or anxiety she may have. Mo urges fans not to record her this time and admits that she will not be able to control what she says on stage and what they may capture. While it is customary for comedians to ask people not to record their sets as they are often workshopping new jokes or repeating material, in Mo’Nique’s case, it makes even more sense considering how much beef her last set got her into after someone posted videos of it online.
Comedians have been struggling with this for years now, since the dawn of the camera phone. Jokes deliveries are a careful science, and they often spend months getting their timing and cadence down perfectly. Recorded footage could leak punchlines before they’re perfected or spoil the joke for other people. Chris Rock spoke about this in 2014 with The Washington Post and compared some stand-up sets to song demos. “Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio,” Rock argued. “But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough to write a perfect act and get onstage, but everybody else workshops it and workshops it, and it can get real messy. It can get downright offensive.”
Chris Rock also argued that the rise in cancel culture can be due to comics not having the luxury now of workshopping content. In the past, if a comic went too far at a comedy show and the crowd reacted negatively, they could simply omit it from their set next time. Unfortunately, they do not have that ability anymore, and one bad night can reshape your whole career, as we are currently seeing with Mo’Nique.
Chris Rock and Mo’Nique are not the only comics urging fans to stop recording their sets. Dave Chapelle has taken issue with this in the past. Chris Rock has gone on record to say that he feels that smartphones helped start the cancel culture movement. “The sad thing, with all this taping and stuff, no one’s going to do stand-up. And every big stand-up I talk to says: ‘How do I work out new material? Where can you go if I have a half an idea and then it’s on the Internet next week?'” Will Mo’Nique be able to vent at her next show without it going online?