Oh boy, Ricky Gervais: The Comedian’s excuse

Oh, don’t you love it when mainly white male Comedians say something offensive and then when some people criticize them for that, they get all whiny and need help from their mainly white male Comedian friends to say that Comedy is allowed to say and do anything and they don’t care anyway (like hell, they do) and you are a poopy face because you got offended.

Actually, I don’t love it. I don’t like the excuses that everything is game in Comedy if privileged Comedians punch down and think that no one can call them out for it. Just because you’re a Comedian doesn’t make you invincible for being a dick and don’t believe for one second that you are above anything and didn’t mean it that way in the first place and it was ironic and blah blah blerg.

Here’s the thing: because you are a Comedian, you know about ambivalence, you know about semantic little details and the small things that turn an ok joke into a great joke. Yes, sometimes it can happen that you make a stupid joke that you thought was harmless but suddenly people react differently than you and your friends to it. Does that mean that they are all “cunts“? No, it means that what you intend to joke about and what other people actually hear can be different. It’s called communication and it is a precious thing that we all have to adhere to to get along in life.

If you are a Comedian, you can play with these things. But if you are not very good at playing with them, people will call you dickish, irresponsible and horrible. And maybe only some of them are “cunts” and the rest just knows that you were really lazy, wrote the go-to-joke for, erm, let’s say Caitlin Jenner (like we haven’t heard this sort of joke before in 2015 and already sighed over it) and then ruined the actually great punchline calling her out for her horrible DUI-incident.

There’s a thing in Comedy that’s called punching up or down. If you punch down, and thereby make fun of people who are weaker than you and are generally weaker in society and maybe even in danger of harrassment and violence (because of you), you are almost definitely an asshole. And no “Comedian of the Year”-plate can change that. Calling out a celebrity for getting away with manslaughter? That’s punching up because that’s what happens, that’s their privilege. But calling out a trans-woman for her public process of feeling comfortable in her own skin is punching down because it is your privilege that you are a white Cis-male who has never ever in your entire life faced the kind of stupid-ass jokes that trans-people have to live with. What a poor little sod you are and how quaint to use “cunt” of all words to throw your fit on social media.

And yes, you can also watch some Stewart Lee on this topic because no one can say better why political correctness can be a good thing.

 

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