How an interview goes wrong: racial humor
As I typically promote most of my radio appearances I thought in the interest of full disclosure I’d better mention this one. Due to my lack of knowledge concerning if I can mention a radio talk show when they possibly would rather me not mention them I will just say I was recently interviewed by an urban morning show. By urban I mean that the hosts were black. Not ‘smooth jazz’ black or ‘NPR’ black. I mean ‘rap’ black. ‘Laquan’ black. I had the feeling going into it that they were desperate for guests and no idea who I was or what I did but when you’re trying to push a new book you take what you can get. Plus, my easygoing nature makes me a hit with most every radio host.
It started out well despite a small cultural gap and I was explaining how I’ve learned when being interviewed to just answer whatever question is asked of me with whatever topic I want to talk about. I used the example of a host asking me what inspired me to start writing and me answering how I liked to read as a child and, without taking a breath, fantasy football.
That got a small laugh and they asked if I played fantasy football. I replied “affirmative.” I would later come to understand that this reply made it seem like I was a police officer. There was a small uncomfortable lapse in the conversation. Live and learn.
Anyway, this is where it went downhill.
Me: Yes. I love playing fantasy football. Last year I actually did quite well.
Me: Yes, I actually went undefeated. I was in a white supremacist league so I was the only one who drafted black players. I won most games by like 20 points. Some of the other teams had four kickers.
Male Co-host: *nervous laugh*
Me: This year it’s a lot tougher though. I joined a Black Panthers league so the games are a lot more competitive.
Host: Are you for real?
Me: Luckily I’m the only one with a good quarterback.
Female Co-host: Oh no you didn’t just say that!
Host: What are you saying?
Me: You know, I’m saying that teams that are composed of both black and white players are the most successful. It’s like a metaphor for our cultures.
Host: Oh, Ok.
Me: … and black quarterback are horrible.
Male Co-Host: *loud spluttering sound*
Host: Whoa there … hold on.
Female Co-Host: Oh no. Oh no!
Male Co-host: *silence*
Female Co-host: *slight clearing of throat but mostly silence*
Me: So … that’s my bit on fantasy football.
I thought I was going to be on a lot longer but things pretty much wrapped up right after that. Weird. Perhaps I should have let them know that I planned on doing racial humor but in the end if they don’t bother to read my books ahead of time and know I’m an idiot then fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.
Albeit a lame one.
My e-mail to thank them for the interview has yet to be replied to.