“Happy 9/11, everybody!”
It was actually September 9, nearly ten years after the attacks, and comedian Nick DiPaolo was on stage at the Gotham Comedy Club, where he’d been headlining, taking a chance that with a decade’s distance audiences might finally be ready to laugh—not about the thousands of dead, of course, but maybe about our shared anxieties and the collective experience of living with tragedy and fear. (…)
Mr. DiPaolo recalled that he first tried addressing the attacks just two nights after 9/11 at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village.
“I went downstairs, and there were only eight or nine in the audience and I went on a rant about terrorists and they loved it! How could you not talk about it?” His jokes targeted Muslims—cathartic, perhaps, but maybe you had to be there?
“The FBI has trouble penetrating these terrorist cells,” he said. “Bullshit. Move to my neighborhood, I’ve been buying fruit from the Taliban for four years.”
Asked to recall a joke that bombed, he offered, “Every Mosque in this country should be on fire.”