Alright, this is sort of a convoluted story, so I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible: John Mayer is a douchey racist. Trust me. Need more? Okay. Here goes. This story comes from New York Magazine’s Vulture column, via Lainey Gossip. Incidentally, it was the one of NY Mag’s Vulture column people that caught up with John Mayer a few months ago and tried to interview him, only to have Mayer threaten “I’m going to forcefully sodomize your editor.” So, there’s some history there. Anyway, this story is about John Mayer’s attempt at stand-up at the Slipper Room last week, and the story comes directly from a comedian named Kumail Nanjiani, who not only witnessed Mayer’s act, but was the one to fall victim to Mayer’s racist douchery.
A quick word about Nanjiani: he’s an up-and-coming Pakistani comedian who has spent the last year performing on late night shows for David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Saturday Night Live. He’s been named one of the “Ten Comedians To Watch” and he’s making deals all over the place. Basically, he’s a funny guy, and he does this for a living, with great joy.
Here’s what happened when Mayer showed up at the Slipper Room, told by Nanjiani and New York Magazine:
John Mayer showed up at the Slipper Room unannounced last Tuesday night and asked the evening’s emcee, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s Seth Herzog, if he could do five minutes of stand-up. According to Nanjiani, who was originally scheduled to take the stage when Mayer showed up, Mayer then proceeded to bomb for not five minutes, but for twenty, eating into Nanjiani’s performance time. Which would have been fine, except Mayer then decided to come back out onstage AGAIN in the middle of Nanjiani’s set.
This is when things got weird.
To hear Nanjiani tell the story, he was somewhat rattled after having had his set time cut by John Mayer, but things got awkward after Mayer referred to the Pakistan-born Kumail as “Kabul.” Whoops! Making matters even worse, Mayer apparently then began heckling Nanjiani onstage, telling him that “he looked like a brown guy but sounded like a white guy.” Double whoops! Now, Nanjiani was careful last night not to accuse Mayer of being a racist, nor does he seem to hold a real grudge against Mayer; rather, he was just relating a hilariously surreal story of a recent stand-up gig to a bunch of comedy nerds (like us!).
[From New York Magazine]
Ha, Mayer thinks it’s funny to mispronounce a Pakistani’s name, making it sound like an Afghan city. Hysterical. It’s always so funny when someone basically says to you “You have brown skin and a non-Anglo name, so you’re not worth the two seconds it would take to learn how to pronounce your name correctly.” And yes, I take it personally. I have an Indian name, and I don’t care when people mispronounce my name when they’re trying to sound it out, I just think that’s polite, like they’re making an effort. I only care when someone mangles my name because they don’t think I’m worth the effort.
What’s worse is that Mayer doubles down on his douchery, saying “he looked like a brown guy but sounded like a white guy.” Ugh. What a bitch.
When Mayer was discussing the incident to The Comic’s Comic, he described what went down as: “I’m blind and I’m an idiot. I go in and I smash things with my big, dumb Hulk hands. I don’t know how to do it yet. I don’t know how to bomb. It was combative in the sense that the crowd didn’t really accept the fact that the jock, the guy who gets the girls, was at a place where the guys go who talk about how they don’t get the girls.” So… Mayer’s not a racist, he’s just a guy who gets laid, and all of us are jellus h8ters? Right.
Mayer went on, trying to explain how he was trying to rescue Kumail, we just misunderstood: “I’d never met Kumail. But I’m also in performance-mode, and in barrel-ahead mode, and with not enough information. Performer to performer, I felt like, he’s having trouble transitioning. They always think the other guy is the bigger guy. I’m just trying to tell them I’m John. Once I go out up there, I’m an amateur comic. In my state of vulnerability, I thought, it’s not moving forward… The whole thing was so odd. It was off-kilter from the moment I’d gotten onstage…So I get onstage, and I didn’t know he didn’t want me onstage. I’m the exact opposite of a ham when I go to a comedy club… I’m trying to go for broke. When you’re that flustered, your references are off. I felt really bad. I felt like I ruined his set.”
Mayer also says that he ended up apologizing to Kumail. Which is better than most casual racists would do, so I give Mayer a small bit of credit for that. But not much.