You more than likely have heard about Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special Sticks And Stones, and that it’s hilarious. Oh, and if you don’t believe it’s hilarious you’re a left-wing bigot who plans on destroying all forms of free speech.
For the sake of transparency I’ll note that I have not seen it and have no plans to. And it’s not because I’m against offensive humor or something along those lines, it’s because the clips I saw from it on Twitter I didn’t find all that funny. According to the people I’m about to talk about, this means I want to ban it. To be clear, I don’t.
For instance, when the comedy special had a 0% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes Twitter user Tim Pool said “ We need to get these cultists out of media already.” Personally, I assumed this was just an example of the people who have studied media, are paid to write reviews of it, and have seen more in a year than the average person has seen in a lifetime having different tastes than the general public. Kind of like the same thing that has been going on for years. Critics hated The Wizard of Oz and Fantasia when they first came out, were Walt Disney and Victor Fleming just to politically incorrect?
I’ve seen examples of this in my own life. I personally felt Dirty Grandpa was an okay movie, not a great one but funny for what it’s worth. Yet famous film critic Richard Roper — who took over Gene Siskel’s role on At The Movies after his death — hated it. So what? He’s seen thousands of movies, of course he’d have different tastes than the average person. I’m sure the maniacal engineer cares more about cars than I do.
This use to happen all the time, Roger Ebert hated Batman 1989 for instance. Ebert also gave The Phantom Menace 3 1/2 starts when it first came out. And both Siskel and Ebert hated ET when it was first released, yet it is currently considered one of the greatest films of all time.
This brings me to something I’ve noticed more and more of, these days it seems like you have to find offensive jokes funny no matter the context. You have to be a reverse puritan.
This is not to be confused with either hedonism or social liberalism. Both of those ideas involve allowing you to be free to make your own life choices because you are an individual. This ideology still treats you as a member of a collective, just a highly offense one.
Of course, this also exists on the left. You must bake the cake for a gay wedding, or a cake for a transgender person celebrating her transition. However, that has been called out a million and one times, while examples on the right are often ignored.
These claims are often made by comedians who cannot stand the idea that other people do not find them funny. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone do this regularly, hiding behind the argument of “well it’s not illegal for us to tell these jokes,” whenever someone dares to not find them all that funny.
Daniel Tosh had a similar controversy regarding telling a heckler “wouldn’t it be funny if five guys raped her,” after she screamed “rape is never funny,” do to a joke Tosh told moments earlier. When people didn’t think such a thing was funny and boycotted his show (also known as not giving him money) he said he was being censored before going back to work on his Comedy Central TV show.
Of all of them though, the one that annoys me the most was Jerry Seinfeld — the man who has never been funny. When he went to college campuses and people didn’t laugh at the same jokes that weren’t funny in 1990, he said it was because he was “politically incorrect.” Even his biggest fans thought this claim was idiotic, yet none of them seemed to make the connection that it was Seinfeld being idiotic and not the people who didn’t laugh.
Part of me wonders how these people would act if they were to go back in time to when George Carlin — one of the most influential comedians of the twentieth century despite only being around for the 30% of it — got arrested.
“Oh man, yeah George that sucks. As someone from the future I can confirm it’s the same. No, you don’t get arrested, but people will give you negative reviews on www dot rotten tomatoes dot com.”
These claims are normally followed by the idea that late night comedians are all bias and evil for making fun of the President, which they have done since both Presidents and Comedians have existed. Is it true that late night comedians were soft on Obama, sure but it’s a little more complicated than that.
First off, liberals were the people who watched late night comedies the most by that point. Conservatives had stopped watching late night comedy years ago by that point under the claim they were bias in a liberal direction, ironically making them more bias in a liberal direction.
Second off, while Obama was not the scandal free president many on the left claim, he did do one thing right. The scandals of Barack Obama tended to be much more complicated than the Lewinsky scandal or Hurricane Karenina. Try to write me a funny Saturday Night Live style skit of Fast and Furious, it’s actually quite hard.
Here’s a question: What ever happened to “comedy is subjective?” Even George Carlin had detractors, people actually thought he was going to fade in the 80’s due to him just not giving it his all anymore. He came back, better than ever.
Not everyone who doesn’t find you funny is offended, they could just not think you’re funny.
For that matter, if they are offended that’s fine. Everyone has something they find offensive, and saying you like “offensive humor,” doesn’t make any sense considering you don’t seem to find that humor very offensive if you like it so much.
The issue isn’t people being offended no more than it’s people being sad or angry, it’s people trying to ban what they find offensive. And if your biggest problem is people not giving you positive reviews, you’re in no danger of being censored.