Beck Krefting is a former stand-up comedian and the author of All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents. She is also a scholar at Skidmore College whose research interests include humor and laughter; she is currently working on a book about preppers/survivalists. Before participating in the Zócalo/UCLA panel “Has Political Correctness Really Killed Humor?”, she talked in the Zócalo green room about the offensive comedy she enjoys—and the comedy that truly offends her.

Q: What’s your favorite plant or flower?
I really like succulents, just as a group, as a species. They’re fun, and I can’t keep them alive, which is distressing because it should be easy.

Q: What sound do you find most annoying?
When you eat fried chicken and there’s grease on your fingers and you wipe it on a napkin—that squeaky sound. Ohhh it is awful, goosebumps, the whole nine yards. Nails on a chalkboard, fine. Grease on napkins, no.

Q: What do teaching a college class and doing a stand-up show have in common?
Well they’re both a performance. Actually they’re the same thing. I’m more prepared for college, for a classroom, than I ever was on stage.

Q: Beach or mountains?

Q: What’s your favorite cliché?
A bird in the hand, because I have to remind myself that all the time, because I keep going out foraging, even when I have what I need.

Q: How do you like your steak?
If I’m eating it, medium rare. If I’m sharing it with my wife, it’s got to be medium.

Q: What was the most offensive routine you came across while researching All Joking Aside?
I find Sam Kinison pretty offensive at times. I also had to watch some Andrew Dice Clay, which was not highly enjoyable. I like some offensive comedy. I like comedy that is offensive when it comes to bodily fluids. I like a good fart joke just like the next guy. But I don’t prefer racism or bigotry writ large, so when I saw that, that was always distressing.

Q: What’s your least favorite household chore?
Vacuuming. That’s why I don’t do it. I cook instead.

Q: What cheese best describes you?
Stilton. Durable, a little stinky.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.