Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Feb 28, 2013.
FYI...more than one of these made me say, "Ohmigod!!!"
D@MN you, Peter.
And I wish they would not do that.
So you're Ms. Sensitive now? (P.S. I will try to refrain from using mind control in the future to make you open up and then read over random links...)
actually joan was the first mainstream comedian to publicly make a 911 joke iirc, she's got all the bases covered
I think this is a case where the majority rules... If the majority find it acceptable, then the more is that it's acceptable to that group as a group.
But, we can't poll people before inappropriate jokes and remarks are made. And we really only hear from a few vocal people, after they are made. So, how do we determine if it is acceptable, by the majority, within a group? I believe that if you even suspect that what you are about to say will really hurt someone, don't say it. And that doesn't stem from "political correctness", it stems from being taught as a child, that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.
Well I'm not a famous comedian who makes a living telling jokes so the rules are different for me anyway. I know what is and is not acceptable within my group. And, if I tell a joke, and it gets a bad reaction, I can just say "sorry" and either not tell it again or not tell it around that person (if I have reason to think that person doesn't speak for many or is overly sensitive). And that's the end of it. No articles and editorials and threads on FB and message boards. So it's a completely different situation.
But professional comedians have a wider audience. Are they suppose to never tell a joke that might hurt anyone's feelings? I mean some people out there are *awfully* sensitive. And others seem to be just looking for something to be offended by.
Plus what if you tell a joke that makes a skinhead look bad and skinheads everywhere say "my feelings were hurt?" I bet the comedian would probably say "GOOD!"
Or what if you hate the group that a comedian belongs to so you complain about every joke they tell? Should they just shut up and go away because someone is offended that they even exist?
I think at some point, a comedian is an artist and art sometimes offends. They have to accept that and they have to make a judgement of what *they* consider acceptable and not acceptable. Then we can make a judgment too about their work... is it funny? is it hurtful? dit it cross some sort of line? And they can change their work based on our judgment or they can tell us to go take a flying leap.
BUT I just don't think the "never offend anyone" or "never hurt anyone's feelings" standard is remotely reasonable for a professional comedian and I'm not going to hold any of them to it.
Won't anybody think of poor Mrs. Youngman?!?!?!??!
Agree with this. This is why I can't imagine why any comedian would want to do the Oscars. It's one thing when you have a tv show or movie or stand up routine, and the audience are people who tuned in or bought tickets because they like your humour. But the Oscars is a no-win situation, because the audience is so much broader, tuning in not only for the "show" but because they are movie or fashion or celebrity fans.
And there's a new challenge for comedians and other artists, and that's of course the internet. In the old days, Joan might say something offensive to some, but it wouldn't go much further than a show review in a newspaper. Now, everything flies around the world in hours, often without any context, and as with just about anything, opinions will range from love it to hate it to everything in between. And even more than that, there are a million platforms to voice those opinions for all the world to hear.
Yep, putting yourself out there as an artist requires a lot of bravery, and a thick skin I think.
I can't argue with that. Most of what I said above is how I feel about what I say. However, I do think there are certain issues that are just not funny, and even professional comedians should avoid them. I don't think rape is funny, I don't think child molestation is funny, I don't think genocide is funny. But, that is my opinion, no one has to agree.
And yet how many jokes there are about priests and boys?
Anyone remember when comic Gilbert Gottfried was fired from his job as the voice of the AFLAC's duck when he posted some jokes on twitter about the tsunami destruction in Japan? AFLAC does do a large part of its business in Japan, so the firing wasn't surprising.
Some of the jokes can be read in this article.
Yes!!!!!!!! Poor baby - imagine being married to someone name Henny.
Their descendants rarely joke about it, it's the survivors themselves who used the humor in order to survive the madness they went through in that terrible planet of the ashes * called the concentration camps.
My grandpa, a Holocaust survivor, was one of those who never wanted to talk about what he went through during that time.
Most of the Holocaust survivors were and still are like my grandpa, but there were some who used the black humor in order to survive.
It is hard to diagest how they did it but as one of the survivors described in Dr. Ostrower's research, it helped her to keep her sanity. She didn't want to give Nazis the satisfaction of becoming a robot with a serial number on her wrist. The humor kept her human.
*-planet of ashes- a term that was used by Ka-Tsetnik, a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, who revealed his real identity (Yehiel De-Nur) during the Eichmann trial on 1961. De-Nur described Auschwitz as the "planet of the ashes", but before he was able to answer any question about Auschwitz he fainted and was unable to resume his testimony.
I knew Ka-Tzetnik during my days as a journalist. He gave me some of his books with a personal dedication. When my son went to high-school he took one of Ka-Tsetnik's books to his Yeshiva to show it to his classmates. He also talked about being a second (from his father's side) and a third (from my side) generation to the Holocaust survivors.
Comedians know when jokes are over-the-line when the reactions become over-whelming negative to the point where it seriously hurts their income-earning potential and reputation. Some shock jocks have more leeway because they don't appeal to the broad base, but some of the more mainstream ones seem to have a bigger balancing act to do.
I remember Lena Dunham made some joke on Twitter about some Canadian murdering couple, and ended up apologizing because of the strong negative reaction she received. Other comedians bask in the negativity and get away with it because they end up attracting a niche group that will continue to fund their career.
And they make me squirm too.
Again, I completely understand the victims of the Holocaust (or any tragedy) needing humor to maintain sanity or dignity. But, for non-victims to use humor, especially years later, just feels opportunistic and wrong.
Some very interesting takes on humour in this thread. It's gone well beyond Joan, which is good. I find the remarks about Holocaust humour particularly interesting: worked well for some, not for others. Perhaps it all depends on the reasons for the humour?
Another example to add to our list here: Here in Canada we have a comedian, Rick Mercer, oif whom I am quite fond. Many years ago he did a weekly routine called "Talking With Americans" in which he would illustrate how little Americans knew about Canada. He would go to American universities and do polls with whomever he came across on campus. He would ask them to sign a petition to end the seal hunt on Toronto Island (no seals in this city, only at zoo!) or one to extradite Jean Chretien Pinochet for crimes against humanity (Jean Chretien was the prime minister at that time). It was very very funny because he fooled so many of them. But the most important thing was that he was absolutely delighted when they caught on (a few did). He stopped doing this routine after 9/11 because he said he simply couldn't bear to do this to those in such pain. As far as I know, he's never done it since. This is an example to me of knowing why you're doing it and taking full responsibility for it.
And to me it's an example of being sanctimonious. There is no one in the US who is in such pain from 9/11 that we wouldn't laugh hysterically at how much we don't know about geography and world events. In fact, these sorts of bits are done all the time in the US by US comedians and even newscasters. Because the knowledge of the average American about such things is dismal and deserves to be poked fun at.
Bill Maher is big for these jokes.
Needless to say, these types of jokes are Joan's MO. She had said to a London, UK audience back in '09 that (paraphrasing) there is always something to laugh at in every situation. Another one of her Holocaust jokes was that (again, paraphrasing) she hadn't anyone happier than [actress x] since Mel Gibson's tour of Auschwitz.
I think if anyone is offended, they can just change the channel / turn off the TV ... so many choices ...
Or, with Fashion Police, just turn off the sound.