Help! What if my parents hate my sex jokes and disown me? #AskAvery

Dear Avery,

My parents have been begging to watch me perform standup. The only problem is, my set has gotten a lot dirtier recently. What’s your advice on how to perform sex jokes in front of parents, more specifically, your own parents? 

Your Friend,

The Sex Talk

Dear The Sex Talk,

I remember the first time I was going to do a sex joke in front of my parents. I was doing a big show at West Side Comedy Club, and it was my first really graphic set. I always said I wasn’t going to be one of those ‘sex comics’, until I realized comedy and talking about sex were two of my favorite things. My fate was already laid out. 

In the days before the show, I looked up interviews with Amy Schumer and Nikki Glasser, searching for advice from female sex comics and what their parents think. But unfortunately for me, they all had chill parents who are just so proud of their kids for doing what they love. I was fucked. 

It wasn’t that my parents weren’t chill. It was that I learned what sex was from unmonitored internet access and never got a so-called ‘sex talk.’ My only formal sex education was when I was in 5th grade when a 60-year-old man bragged that he could still get it up with his wife. Thank god television was able to fill in the gaps.

The night of the show, I knew it would be a bandaid rip-off of a moment. My first piece of advice is to seat your parents in the BACK. I know they would expect star treatment, but I promise looking your dad in the eye while talking about cum shots is worse than talking to him about politics. 

Then I just told the joke. Actually a series of jokes culminating in me explaining that I know what a table feels like because a guy has done coke off of me. Woof. People laughed and the show went well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that my parents had just heard me say that. Never mind the fact that my situationship AND therapist were also in the audience. (!!!)

After the show I was nervous. But my parents just came up to me and said they were proud of me? How could this be? I had already taken a few celebratory shots, so I kinda forgot about it and went out for post-show 4 Lokos with my friends in Central Park – a classic tradition of NYC kids. The day after, my dad took me aside. He said, “How much of that stuff did you make up?” I realized that they didn’t take my set as a confessional, but as a stretch of the truth. It was time to quickly lie, and say that the set was all just simple storytelling. Maybe it’s better this way. My parents can sleep at night knowing that I’m just making jokes up and I can continue on my filthy comedy journey. 

So if you skipped to the end of the article to get the real advice, go read about my relationship with my parents and then come back.

You’re back?

OK, my advice is to sit your parents in the back and lie if they question you about the set. I promise doing standup makes THEM the cool parents, and no matter what you said, they’re still gonna be bragging to their friends for months to come. Face it, you’re basically their retirement plan if you make it big, and if making it big includes being raunchy, then go off and prosper.