Big Jay Oakerson: Dog Belly.

Gorilla Specials: Big Jay Oakerson Blends Truth And Comedy In ‘Dog Belly’

Big Jay Oakerson is not a comic for the faint of heart. Covered in tattoos, with a shock of pink running through his middle-aged hair, he sits on a stool and asks about the sex life of his audience members as crowd work. Over more than two decades, Oakerson has amassed a following who have come to love him as a poet of filth, a tender-hearted club act who knows how to walk a delicate line between insult and irony. In Dog Belly, he shines a light on that line, and discusses it at length.

Big Jay Oakerson is a wordsmith with sexual descriptors, painting stark images like a perverse Picasso.

The special begins with Oakerson describing the ways in which a 21 year old’s parents are having to sex to them, saying:


“Your mom, still limber for her age, holding her ankles, head down hard. Your dad giving her the biz from behind. It’s good, because your mom is bent over so much, that her puss is just a perfect line right in front of him. She’s still got it your mom. And then, your dad’s got his hands on the window, looking at the Luxor in the distance, going ‘I’m the king of the world, dude.’ PS They both did coke.”

Crass as it may be, it’s vivid, and throughout the special, Oakerson will prove again and again that he can create strong visuals with a few well-worded dick jokes. In one goofy aside, he discusses how, if two men have the same-sized penis and can’t tell whose is larger, the only sure-fire method to know is to get erect and run at each other head on. Here, the worry of cracking skulls together and passing out betwixt one another manages to make elegant use of the phrase “string of pre-jizz connecting our dick holes like Lady and the Tramp spaghetti.”

Big Jay Oakerson: Dog Belly.
Big Jay Oakerson: Dog Belly. Courtesy of Scoobadoo Productions. Photo by Troy Conrad.

Oakerson is a master of crowd work.

There is something Oakerson does that helps him manage the crowd in a way that makes space for sincerity and dialogue: he sits close to the lip of the stage, with one hand holding the mic stand and the other in his lap. Dave Chappelle and Jerrod Carmichael are the only two comics who can pull focus and sit in discomfort in a similar way. But whereas Chappelle is always ready with another joke, or Carmichael is interested in sharing with the audience rather than necessarily having a dialogue, there’s a strange sense that Oakerson would be perfectly happy if his set just fell apart into a sincere conversation with his audience. It’s there in the way in he engages over and over with a Black woman and her white boyfriend, asking questions that, while personal, seem to come from genuine interest. It’s there in his gentle discussion of his life outside of his persona. When he learns there’s someone in the audience who is 26, or when he reflects on the crimes of R. Kelly, he seems to be amazed by the passage of time, and wants the audience to share that sense of disbelief. The moments that emerge from this feel intimate and safe, allowing him to make jokes and draw boundaries that are easier to see than in a traditional club setting.

Oakerson tries to identify the difference between comedy and sincerity, which seems important to him.

At a certain point in the hour, Oakerson wades into the tricky waters of social commentary and politics. He doesn’t have takes, however, but rather tries to illustrate the difference between what he does and who he is. He shares that he views himself as woke, and that he stopped using the slur “tranny” in his personal life because the trans community has discussed how hurtful it is to them. He refuses to give the word up, however, in comedy. Oakerson is optimistic that audiences will be willing to separate him from his act, and tries to argue that it’s bullshit or real when he’s onstage, but that the not knowing is what makes comedy special.

The degree to which a viewer might agree or disagree with Oakerson seems beside the point to him, and this, coupled with his willingness to be vulnerable in trying to think these issues through, is what makes Dog Belly interesting, relevant, and worth discussing.

Big Jay Oakerson's latest special, Dog Belly, is streaming now on YouTube. Stream & download the audio album from the special available everywhere today!

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