The first time I heard a song by J. Williamez, I was wet almost instantaneously – the way his soulful voice crooned lyrics about sexually transmitted infections made me laugh so hard I peed a little.
Over the years, Williamez has gained an audience by singing dirty, provocative, and hilarious songs about things like chlamydia, vaginas and bodily excretions. What started off as a Christmas present for some friends – he wrote a dirty song for each one – eventually became a weekly paying gig at the one place that didn’t ban him for life after seeing his act: Shannon’s Irish Pub.
As Williamez prepares for his last show at Shannon’s on Sept. 24, quitting the gig of five years to focus on school in order to pursue his comedy career, he modestly rationalizes the fanbase he’s built.
“People like to drink and listen to offensive shit,” he said.
That may be true, but it probably has more to do with the fact that he’s legitimately funny, incredibly passionate, and he has a wicked mullet that even a Transconian would envy.
Williamez’s songs mostly make fun of himself, but no topic is off limits.
“A lot of my comedy is for me, but I love to see people’s reactions,” he said, adding it’s hard to tell who is going to be offended at his shows.
“There will be an old couple sitting there eating a chicken dinner and I’m like, ‘Yep, they’re gonna leave,’ but they love it. Another time it’ll be a young, hip looking couple and they’re just aghast.”
Williamez never judges people for leaving his shows though, partly because he acknowledges the fact that some of his songs are offensive.
“It makes it better for the people who get it,” he said. “If I can use those people who don’t get it to make it funnier for those who do, it makes my shows so much better.”
Williamez is passionate about his comedy in a way that most people only pretend to be in our modern culture. His goal isn’t to be famous. He believes that comedy is an art form that should never be censored and refuses to clean up his act in order to get on TV.
“If people like what I’m doing they’ll like it when they see it live. I don’t need to dumb it down – well not dumb it down, I’m pretty dumb – but not change it,” he said.
This makes Williamez continue to push the boundaries of what’s considered appropriate.
“If everything was just Jerry Seinfeld telling his mundane jokes ... the art form wouldn’t progress forward,” he said. “Every once in a while an Andy Kaufman (his biggest influence) comes along and changes shit for everyone. It might not seem like that’s what I want to do because a lot of my songs are infantile, but I like to think there’s another level.
“A lot of the jokes that I tell make it seem like I believe something that I don’t, but as long as I get people to question what they believe, then I’ve done my job.”
Published in Volume 65, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 23, 2010)