Should Comedians Apologize?

You just hurt my feelings mister!

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In recent years with comedians becoming more and more successful and spawning movies and tv shows into the mainstream a large amount of comedians have made jokes that are found to be horribly offensive by people in the crowd or people who’ve seen the bit. It will usually be blogged about and then there would be a big social media outrage followed by the comedian apologizing. 

I don’t necessarily think comedians should have to apologize for what they say. In this article, they speak about how someone can play a horribly racist character in a movie and people know that the actor isn’t a terrible racist nor the people who wrote the character. However, comedians come under such fire with their off statements.

The creators of South Park have always played by their motto of either nothing is off limits or everything is off limits. I tend to agree with this because in Jim Norton’s words, “The relief of comedy is that it takes things that aren’t funny and it allows us to laugh about them for an hour and then we have the rest of the day to look at them for how horrible and sad as they really are.”

In a sense, I think comedians become a victim of their own success and they get a much bigger crowd who may know them for their one act or character. Then the comic has a bad night or makes an off color joke people get offended. One thing I’d want to clarify is that in a case like Michael Richards, he wasn’t trying to be funny and thats where I have an issue. He said something in anger. He was mad because he was getting heckled and he stopped trying to be funny and provoke his heckler. I think that when a comic is trying to be funny they’re trying to pull an emotion out of you (laughter), but when anyone is acting in anger its a different motive.

I want to point out that theres nothing wrong with being offended. There’s plenty of material that’s offensive to me. For the most part you take it with a grain of salt. If it’s too offensive for you then you can leave and stop supporting that person. But the thing is that since everyone gets offended there becomes no middle ground and it becomes a slippery slope to writing a list of whats okay and what is not.

A lot of comedians have stopped performing at colleges because they’ve become to politically correct that it’s hurting their acts. Jerry Seinfeld is one of these comedians and he’s known for having a squeaky clean act. I think that things are getting out of control. Below is a video of a comedian defending Daniel Tosh who had been in trouble for telling a joke about rape. Regardless of how you may feel, it is a good video with some good points.



4 thoughts on “Should Comedians Apologize?

  1. I am a huge fan of Bill Burr, that is all. Actually you opened my eyes more to Norton I think I will look up more of his stuff.

  2. When I go to comedy club, I understand when I purchase the tickets that there might be content that will make me feel uncomfortable, but I know the context is comedy.

    I thought both guests brought up valid points. However, one point that stood out was when Lindy said, “If you want to make that product and stand by it, that’s fine. But, I get to call you a dick, I get to call you out.”

    So, if the comedian truly stands by their product [show/content] and its intention, then why do they apologize? I don’t think they should get upset when a tweeter or blogger voices their opinion of the show. Instead, they should be defending their position on the context, rather than apologizing. It appears to me that the comedians are starting to reexamine their
    position on the content.

    1. I agree with you. I think what happens more often than not though is that the comedians are apologizing because their sponsors for things or their public image gets hurt by the things they say. I agree that everyone has the right to call a joke bad or inappropriate but I think its ridiculous to have to clarify, “I’m sorry I told a joke about something uncomfortable.”

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