CNN contributor defines who comedians can make fun of Update: Author responds

posted at 7:01 pm on August 9, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Let’ s just start by saying that this is going to be a touchy subject for a lot of people, but it’s still worth being kicked around a bit over. Earlier this week I wound up reading an editorial piece published at CNN by David M. Perry, associate professor of history at Dominican University in Illinois and author of the blog: How Did We Get Into This Mess? In the article, titled, Is Down syndrome comedy fodder, the author takes comedian Wyatt Cenac to task for a particular joke he told.

“I am like, I am so (BLEEP) high. This is terrible. And I did it in that voice. And I have never done that voice before in my life. I don’t know where that voice came from. But I heard myself use that voice. And in my mind, I went, oh (BLEEP). I just gave myself Down syndrome.” –Wyatt Cenac, This American Life, 5/4/2014

Perry, the father of a son with Down syndrome, is understandably in tune with the subject and describes the heartrending personal experiences he’s had in his own family. With that as the setting, the author then proceeds to describe exactly what’s wrong with Cenac, as well as Ricky Gervais and others.

There is no disclaimer that can take the sting out of Cenac’s joke. He and Glass can decide that the humor of the piece is worth being offensive, but they don’t get to determine whether the hurt is real or just. Neither do the many comics that rely on punching down, using mockery of people marginalized by ability, race, religion, gender or sexuality to get a laugh.

Cenac isn’t alone. Ricky Gervais, in the British TV show “Derek,” plays a man who appears to be disabled. Derek is supposed to be a positive example, but much of the comedy extends from his disabled physicality — a hunched back, a slacked toothsome mouth, and a shuffling walk. Other laughs come from his cluelessness as he cheerily staggers through uncomfortable scenes.

Gervais has said he doesn’t mean to make fun of people with intellectual disabilities, saying in an interview, “I’ve never considered him disabled; he is a ‘out of the mouth of babies’ innocent person who always says the right thing that you didn’t see coming. And if I say he’s not disabled, that’s the end of it.”

That’s not the end of it. Not for Gervais. Not for Cenac.

First of all, dismissing Cenac’s explanation of the joke – something which never makes a joke funnier, by the way – as just a “disclaimer” to cover his own backside is rather abrupt and disingenuous. Wyatt wasn’t making a joke about a person with a disability… he was making fun of himself, but used the name of the disability as a descriptor. But Cenac isn’t really the issue here. Are we so far gone in terms of making sure that nobody’s feelings are ever hurt that you can’t even say the name of the affliction? And who precisely qualifies for social “protection” from the the aim of comedians. Perhaps more to the point, who doesn’t qualify?

What does Perry want to do about somebody like Daniel Tosh, who has a weekly television show on Comedy Central where he makes fun of every race, every religion… pretty much everyone. And I’m talking about seriously offensive comments which, in normal conversation, would earn him a mouth full of broken teeth? The fact is that Tosh’s seemingly impenetrable defense is precisely that he does make fun of everyone. And while I don’t personally watch him any more (mostly because of the excess of scatological humor) he is, at times, very funny.

What about comics like Carlos Mencia who also crossed just about every line of decorum imaginable? As a Honduran born American, he could clearly get away with doing jokes about the Taco Bell dog, but he went on from there to say that we needed “a black dog. A ghetto rottweiler with an ear cut off and a bullet in his a** doing commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken.” (Warning: NSFW language in that linked clip.) Of course, Mencia may have gotten a bit more slack for being a minority himself. If Ron White tried that joke he’d probably still be sitting in a cell waiting for a bail hearing.

But the point is, how many limits are we supposed to put on comedians? And perhaps more to the point, if we are going to have such social rules of order and propriety for comedy, how is it that other groups are still fair game? Why is it completely acceptable to put on a fake drawl and make fun of Southerners as ignorant redneck hicks who all have sexual relations with their sisters and brothers? I don’t see anyone raising a ruckus over that.

Was Cenac’s joke in bad taste? I don’t know. I laughed at it. I suppose it all comes down to the “taste” of the person listening. If you don’t like the material, don’t pay for tickets to the comic’s show or add to their ratings by watching them on television. Maybe it’s not such an evil, civilization ending idea to suggest that we all just lighten up a little.

This article was edited to reflect that Carlos Mencia was born in Honduras. The original version incorrectly stated Mexico.

UPDATE: Sunday, August 10 (Jazz) The author of the CNN editorial in question, David Perry, contacted me to discuss my coverage of his article. With the permission of the author, I will share portions of that exchange below.

David first suggested that I point our readers to another source, that being the conversation he had with Cenac. He includes this comment.

I don’t expect to persuade anyone, but it’s just possible that Wyatt himself might…

He said (and approved this summary and quote): “Most comedy risks being offensive, but his goal is never to do it “at the expense” of marginalized people or “in a way that promotes continued insensitive behavior.”…

I don’t claim to police comedy or demand comedy starts. Anyone can say anything they want. But what they can’t control is the reaction of the listener. My reaction, the reaction of others in the disability community, is genuine. I like to say – you can’t decide whether I’m offended, you can only decide whether you care. And I fully recognize that you may not care.

That didn’t really satisfy my original questions, so I asked a few follow-ups to determine who precisely qualifies as marginalized persons and what precisely he was trying to accomplish.

As to the first, you refer to rednecks as a “marginalized people.” (Though reading some of the comments already submitted to the piece by actual rednecks, they seem pretty clear that they’d rather punch you than be considered a target of punching down.) Am I correct in assuming that you would apply the same designation and protection to all racial minorities?

How about religions? (“A minister, a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar…”)

Are women marginalized people? (Think dumb blond jokes.)

Hippies? Wall Street investment bankers? Eco-warriors? Global warming deniers? Movie stars? Cable news personalities? Politicians? I’m trying to get a feel for where we’re supposed to draw the lines here.

Second, what precisely are you proposing in your CNN article? If you’re arguing in favor of your own right to be put off and complain about this, then I’m 100% on board with you. But what else? Are you encouraging people not to patronize comedians or shows which engage in such humor? Are you looking for some method to stop them? A boycott? I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish. If your sole point is that “you can’t decide whether I’m offended” then, again, we have no argument. You’re welcome to be offended at anything you like. But it sounded like more.

His response:

Those are good questions.

What was interesting about Cenac’s joke and Ira Glass’ response was that they didn’t think they were telling “retard jokes.” Plenty of people do. I turn them off. I tell their sponsors I won’t buy their products. I might well organize collective action (boycotts) if I thought it warranted. They are not, however, very interesting. I’m also unlikely to reach them or their listeners. Those CNN commentators calling me a retard are not people I’m going to reach. I find them interesting though, in an anthropological way (and wrote a bit about them here – ).

It’s where language gets complex that I start writing.

To my reading and listening, Cenac/Glass were both trying to tell the story, get the laughs, AND avoid precisely the kind of response that it engendered in pretty much everyone inside the disability community who heard it. So that’s something I wanted to explore in my writing. To explain how it happens, how the outsider ends up hurting the insider even if they don’t want to, and how to think about such a situation.

Rather than say who is or isn’t a marginalized group, I’ll come back to this. I’m asking comedians, and others, to think about whether their jokes promote harmful stereotypes or undermines them. If they promote them, then I suggest that there are negative consequences – culturally – for promoting harmful stereotypes. It’s up to them whether or not that’s worth it, or whether some other part of the payoff is worth it. For Gervais, for example, the other payoffs of Derek (it’s all about love, or whatever) are worth him aping the physicality and manner of the intellectual disabled. I disagree.

That first linked article seems to be a fairly breathtaking generalization of conservatives in general. (But I suppose we’re not a “marginalized” group, so…) Interesting, the linked blog entry also points readers to another CNN piece he published on Sarah Palin.

Make of all that what you will. But since Perry took the time to reach out, I thought I would include his answers for you.


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The vast majority of comedians agree that nothing should be off limits. If you can’t take a joke or are easily offended, don’t go to a comedy club until you’ve grown some thicker skin.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Well we all know that liberalism is off limits.

bgibbs1000 on August 9, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Why is it completely acceptable to put on a fake drawl and make fun of Southerners as ignorant redneck hicks who all have sexual relations with their sisters and brothers? I don’t see anyone raising a ruckus over that.

And you never will. Guess what? I don’t care. I’m proud to be a redneck hillbilly!

ladyingray on August 9, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Most of us would be glad to lighten up a little…except we’re unsure what might end us up in prison for ‘hate speech’ these days.

We’re also unsure of the ‘rules’ of humor these days, as Shaquille Oneal and Charles Barkley assure us that what’s okay for them to say, to anyone at any time, isn’t okay for “some white guy” to say and that he’ll know when he crosses that line “…when someone clocks him up side the head.”

Free speech isn’t what it used to be.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Liberals do not believe that children with Down Syndrome should be allowed to live – they view them as an easy target for murder while in the womb, and as an easy target for mocking after birth.

90% of all pregnancies where the unborn child is given a diagnosis of Down Syndrome end in abortion

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/04/19/90-of-down-syndrome-children-aborted-survivors-bring-joy/

Pork-Chop on August 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM

It used to be that people made fun of all sorts of groups: ethnic, religious, rich, poor, the smart and the blondes. It was all good, you can always make fun back at ‘em. Nowadays, the only people we are allowed to make fun of are groups who don’t fight back: the mentally disabled and Christians. Something’s wrong with this picture.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM

It’s okay to think it isn’t funny and not to laugh, what isn’t okay is shutting people up. Let the audience decide. The Husband and I couldn’t get past the first few minutes of “Tropical Thunder”, I don’t doubt for a minute that it is hilarious but some of us Vietnam era folks just aren’t ready to laugh at it. No harm, no foul.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Why is it completely acceptable to put on a fake drawl and make fun of Southerners as ignorant redneck hicks who all have sexual relations with their sisters and brothers? I don’t see anyone raising a ruckus over that.

Those jokes stopped being funny the 11,222th time I heard them./

Dumb audiences eat that stuff up.

CW on August 9, 2014 at 7:16 PM

How Did We Get Into This Mess?

Because of a whole lot of people like David M. Perry.

BigWyo on August 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM

If you want to know what comedy will look like when comedians are defanged, listen to the “comedy” shows NPR runs on the weekends. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is so unfunny it it enters into some sort of hypothetical realm of anti-comedy. Garrison Keillor? Comedy for people who don’t have a sense of humor.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM

ladyingray on August 9, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Amen, kind of mad that the accent isn’t all that it should be, my mom being an Yankee and all.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM

The only limits on comedy are market driven. The best comedy movies are heaving with insults (ie Life of Brian & TEAM AMERICA World Police). The fact of the matter is that you are generally free to express yourself. Others are free to critique your expression. It’s really simple.

lexhamfox on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

The only subject off limits is Obama.

Bertram Cabot Jr. on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Don’t worry. Anybody resembling Archie Bunker will always be fair game. I.e., white, Anglo-Saxon, vaguely Christian, male, etc.

But don’t you dare ever, ever make jokes about any of the enlightened elite’! They are off limits!

Never mind that most of them are walking, talking parodies of what they imagine themselves to be.

clear ether

eon

eon on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Liberals do not believe that children with Down Syndrome should be allowed to live – they view them as an easy target for murder while in the womb, and as an easy target for mocking after birth.

90% of all pregnancies where the unborn child is given a diagnosis of Down Syndrome end in abortion

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/04/19/90-of-down-syndrome-children-aborted-survivors-bring-joy/

Pork-Chop on August 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Based on those numbers, sadly, many are GOPers and conservatives who are killing their imperfect kids.

CW on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

I didn’t even get the supposed “joke”. Was it lame, or is it just me?

ShainS on August 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

“Comedy is really tragedy happening to someone else”

- W.C. Fields

Ned the Mumbler on August 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

What really is the issue? In the end it becomes a perverted, extremist combination of misguided puritanism in which standards of taste are warped by those with the same fascist, power leanings as those who want to control the size of you drinks. [I know, "taste" is a word we can no have in our lowest common commercial culture, but try it out anyway...such things can exist for the betterment of all.]
Comedians who push the envelope give others the outlet for things they themselves might not be able to say, and those that are really bad, well, they’ll disappear on their own. To the comedian thought control police, I’m inclined to say, get a life [somewhere else - and that doesn't depend on your whiny, bullying preoccupation with things you should be big enough in "Geist" to ignore].

RL on August 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

When I was growing up… there was a common theme repeated in school and the culture… it doesn’t matter what someone says about you.. what matters is to know who you are.

I even remember the old TV show The Waltins.. in their pilot episode.. the little girl comes running home crying “Mommy Mommy!Joey called me a p@#* ant!” The mom replied… “Well.. are you a P@#% ant?” The little girl says “No!”… Mom again responds with.. “OK.. then what are you crying about!”

JellyToast on August 9, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Maybe it’s not such an evil, civilization ending idea to suggest that we all just lighten up a little.

including x tians

jaxisaneurophysicist on August 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

The only subject off limits is Obama.

Bertram Cabot Jr. on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

So, Obama and Romney happened to go to the same barbershop while doing a little retail campaigning. Not wanting to look elitist, they both sat down for a haircut. As they were finishing up, Obama’s barber asks if he wants aftershave, and Obama says “Goodness no! Michelle will tell me I smell like a brothel!” Romney’s barber asks the same, and he says “Go ahead, Ann doesn’t know what a brothel smells like.”

I do not endorse this joke, or gain any pleasure from telling it. I merely relay it for evaluation. Offensive?

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Well we all know that liberalism is off limits.

bgibbs1000 on August 9, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Along with their allies-of-convenience Islam. They’ll both kill you for making fun of them given the chance.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 7:24 PM

The vast majority of comedians agree that nothing should be off limits. If you can’t take a joke or are easily offended, don’t go to a comedy club until you’ve grown some thicker skin.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:05 PM

But a lot of comedians don’t make it all the way to the A-list because they don’t understand that for the people making the choices on who to highlight and promote, some topics are off-limits because they’re within the political ‘no-fly’ zone. You make fun of certain people or organizations, and you’re a B-lister or below for life.

Meanwhile, there are many comedians who’ve made the big-time who are perfectly willing to submit their humor to the Ministry of Comedy for review, or self-censor themselves because they know the people who can promote or demote them don’t want to hear certain people or certain subjects lampooned.

(And even some of the comedians who’ve made it to the A-list have to watch their step over who and what the criticize, even in a serious moment, or facing the potential loss of their pop culture ‘buzz’. The blowback was demonstrated back in May when Louis CK went up against the Common Core standards in NYS schools, and irked a lot of people on the left. It wasn’t part of his comedy routine, but we’ll see if he’s a little less hot if he keeps saying things that don’t conform to the approved poisitions.)

jon1979 on August 9, 2014 at 7:25 PM

I didn’t even get the supposed “joke”. Was it lame, or is it just me?

ShainS on August 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Not just you. Maybe it had something to do with the tone of voice he used while telling it, which doesn’t come across in writing.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Based on those numbers, sadly, many are GOPers and conservatives who are killing their imperfect kids.

CW on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Or perhaps, the typical, unhealthy, liberal lifestyle is more likely to produce a child with Down Syndrome, or other disorders.

Pork-Chop on August 9, 2014 at 7:26 PM

The Neo-Puritans may only have started with a word or a phrase, but they’ll move onto books, films, art, and news before you know it.

‘Burn, baby, burn!’ they will scream.

Resist We Much on August 9, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Or perhaps, the typical, unhealthy, liberal lifestyle is more likely to produce a child with Down Syndrome, or other disorders.

Pork-Chop on August 9, 2014 at 7:26 PM

It’s typically women who wait until they’re older to have children that makes Down Syndrome much more likely. There’s probably some bias towards lefties there, but I doubt it’s anywhere near that much.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Carlos Mencia is not Mexican. He is Honduran

The Notorious G.O.P on August 9, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Our world has sadly forgotten the old sticks and stones premise on what what should hurt.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:41 PM

I only watch Tosh because he is last comic who will skewer everyone on any subject. Most of it is in poor taste, but if taste were the measure of acceptability, Miley Cyrus and all the Kardashians would be exiled.

Mencia, btw, is widely disliked by other comics because he steals entire routines.

Adjoran on August 9, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Resist We Much on August 9, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Kind of weird that the Left will vilify someone for joking about a Down Syndrome child (unless related to Gov. Palin) and vilify someone for not aborting a Down Syndrome child. These people are so strange.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:43 PM

There was the joke about Reagan’s Alzheimer’s — “Now he can hide his own Easter eggs”. If you want to, you can say that’s awful. Or, after some thought, it might occur to you the joke is a primer in teaching the most basic fact about Alzheimer’s — the loss of short-term memory — and there may be some value in the joke after all.

Life is usually more complicated than it first appears on the surface. This vital truth is often lost on liberals, who are all about image over substance.

LashRambo on August 9, 2014 at 7:46 PM

The only subject off limits is Obama.

Bertram Cabot Jr. on August 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

And the muzz. Imagine if the comedian had said:

“I am like, I am so (BLEEP) high. This is terrible. And I did it in that voice. And I have never done that voice before in my life. I don’t know where that voice came from. But I heard myself use that voice. And in my mind, I went, oh (BLEEP). I just turned myself into a muslim.”

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Q. How do you starve a democratic?

A. Hide his food stamps under his work boots.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM

So, Obama and Romney happened to go to the same barbershop while doing a little retail campaigning. Not wanting to look elitist, they both sat down for a haircut. As they were finishing up, Obama’s barber asks if he wants aftershave, and Obama says “Goodness no! Michelle will tell me I smell like a brothel!” Romney’s barber asks the same, and he says “Go ahead, Ann doesn’t know what a brothel smells like.”

I do not endorse this joke, or gain any pleasure from telling it. I merely relay it for evaluation. Offensive?

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

It’s so tame is makes the cartoon comic strip “Family Circus” look X-rated.

LashRambo on August 9, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Garrison Keillor? Comedy for people who don’t have a sense of humor.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Figures. My sister and BIL, the lefties, love his crap. They went and saw him in Shreveport and couldn’t stop talking about it for days. I find a lot of things funny, but he’s not one of them.

trigon on August 9, 2014 at 7:52 PM

LashRambo on August 9, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Ouch.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:54 PM

On Spike TV recently, they honored Don Rickles. Most of the praises were about how he went after everybody. The funny thing is that all the while I was thinking there could be no Don Rickles today.

Comedians should not have artificial limits. However, they should understand their audience and their venue and tailor their material to that. If you bring your six-year-old to a comedy routine at a casino, don’t complain when the subject matter gets rough. If you’re a comedian and you do a show that’s going to be broadcast, be aware that a lot of people will be watching and some may not appreciate the humor.

Occams Stubble on August 9, 2014 at 7:55 PM

How about self anointed social nazis who purport to educate the proletariat, via CNN, how we are supposed to think and behave? Can we make fun of THEM?

If so, let me be the first.

orangemtl on August 9, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Since we’re asking for offensiveness ratings, here’s one of my favorites for your consideration:

A Pole emigrates to the US. He loves his new country and does everything he can to fit in. However, everywhere he goes, people are always saying “Oh, you must be from Poland.”

Determined to become a true American, he takes English language and diction classes at night. Upon graduation, he proudly walks into a store and says “I would like some milk and some eggs.”

The store’s proprietor says “Oh, you must be from Poland.” Flabbergasted, the Pole says “What, did I not say that properly?” To which the proprietor replied “Oh, you said it properly but this is a hardware store.”

Occams Stubble on August 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM

a democratic?

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Heh. So respectful. Love it.

CW on August 9, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Nowadays, the only people we are allowed to make fun of are groups who don’t fight back: the mentally disabled and Christians. Something’s wrong with this picture.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM

.
Add to that list paunchy white middle aged and older males… like Jazz.

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:07 PM

I used to like George Lopez until he came out with his “whitey bad, held me back” envy routine. Now I won’t watch him even talk about his career and his kidney (which came from his wife) or anything else because his racial politics are just so awful.
.
I don’t care who he makes fun of since his humor is in the toilet as far as I am concerned.

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM

people who don’t get jokes or who are offended by jokes shouldn’t tell people what’s funny. I laughed are the down syndrome joke.

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so f***ing what.”
-Stephen Fry

Ampersand on August 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM

It’s okay to think it isn’t funny and not to laugh, what isn’t okay is shutting people up. Let the audience decide. The Husband and I couldn’t get past the first few minutes of “Tropical Thunder”, I don’t doubt for a minute that it is hilarious but some of us Vietnam era folks just aren’t ready to laugh at it. No harm, no foul.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Same here for “The Men Who Stare At Goats”.

hawkdriver on August 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Im remember something that went ‘stick and stones……’. I fergit the rest.

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

I regularly poke fun at myself for being an Aspie Jew.
My dad used to tell Shoah jokes that would’ve made Himmler cringe.
People need to grow thicker skins.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Dumbest thing you can do is tell others what they can’t ridicule, it only gets worse after that.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Garrison Keillor? Comedy for people who don’t have a sense of humor.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Or people with insomnia.

CW on August 9, 2014 at 8:12 PM

I think it’s the general uncertainty about writing or uttering certain words or phrases, about whether it’s permissible at any given time, under any given circumstance, and done by any given person or group, that’s taxing comedy, people’s patience, and free speech the most.

People just aren’t sure anymore, and they just don’t want to be pilloried for accidentally straying into forbidden territory and committing a social error. That includes whether or not it’s socially acceptable to laugh at something that strikes them as funny, even when the person saying it is ostensibly a professional trying to make them laugh.

This landscape becomes even more difficult to negotiate when some people, writers, or groups can say or write thing that are denied to others in a stunning example of double standards.

It leaves everyone hesitant and uncertain, and it takes the fun out of comedy, certainly.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Exactly.
I have no use for ‘toilet’ humor-so I turn off any comic that uses it.
Different strokes and all.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Carlos Mencia is not Mexican. He is Honduran

The Notorious G.O.P on August 9, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Thank you! Article updated and notated. Don’t know why I was sure I remembered him talking about Mexico. Live and learn.

Jazz Shaw on August 9, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Keillor’s dry humour ‘new from Lake Wobegone’ is funny, but not in a side-splitting, ROFL kinda way. Funny is human beings trying to pretend they are not human beings. That’s funny.

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Hey, Jazz. Remember Jose Jiminez? Woukld that be funny nowadays?

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:16 PM

We all know who the protected class people are. If you’re gonna make fun of them, you better have you r Party dues paid up, or you’re getting blackballed.

What ever happened to that Kramer dude? Did he get re-educated?

Kenosha Kid on August 9, 2014 at 8:17 PM

I’ve got a bud who made the mistake of telling a bunch of us while we were drunk that he didn’t like when we joked his wife was banging the FedEx guy while he was OTR trucking.

We were like, “Oooohhhhh…dude…you f**ked up.”

You should see the nasty pics we send him culled from the web.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Occams Stubble on August 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Heh, that’ll do nicely as a dumb blonde joke with a little modification.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 8:18 PM

A lot of comedy is mean and done at the expense of individuals or groups. I don’t think it’s any kind of big deal when done about adults and people who can talk back. I don’t like stuff done about children or people with mental retardation issues, because they are not as able to stand up for themselves. It seems cheap and cruel.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 8:21 PM

If you don’t like the material, don’t pay for tickets to the comic’s show or add to their ratings by watching them on television. Maybe it’s not such an evil, civilization ending idea to suggest that we all just lighten up a little.

That’s the common sense approach, right there.

Unfortunately, libs and socialists don’t like the common sense approach.

Newtie and the Beauty on August 9, 2014 at 8:22 PM

CW on August 9, 2014 at 8:12 PM

+ 20 Trillion

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:23 PM

published at CNN by David M. Perry, associate professor of history at Dominican University in Illinois

I have this urge to yank that earring out of his ear like Gunny did in Heartbreak Ridge

The vast majority of comedians agree that nothing should be off limits. If you can’t take a joke or are easily offended, don’t go to a comedy club until you’ve grown some thicker skin.

TarasBulbous on August 9, 2014 at 7:05 PM

They wouldn’t be quitting their day jobs if they had to depend upon me for an income. The vast majority of comedians I thought were very funny are dead.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 9, 2014 at 8:23 PM

What ever happened to that Kramer dude? Did he get re-educated?

Kenosha Kid on August 9, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Michael Richards worked with Kirstie Alley in her sitcom “Kirstie” for the run of the 2013 season.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:23 PM

I have written jokes and done amateur standup since the 80′s. Standards are so different now. Don Rickles could not do his schtick, I kid because I love to packed houses. Humor that comes from the situation of dealing with Downs syndrome is the way to go, but some people just want to keep crossing the line and moving goalposts. My choice is to take myself lightly and my purpose in life seriously.

nuclearoptional on August 9, 2014 at 8:23 PM

blue sweety. No comedy is mean or aimed at individuals or groups. It’s meant to get laughs. To make a living. Targets of any type of comedy don’t need to stand up for themselves, they need to lighten up. (hint)

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

I’ve got a real sacrilege for you. I do not find the Three Stooges the least bit funny. Nor Jimmy Carey, even before I found out he is an azzhole.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Liberals do not believe that children with Down Syndrome should be allowed to live – they view them as an easy target for murder while in the womb, and as an easy target for mocking after birth.
90% of all pregnancies where the unborn child is given a diagnosis of Down Syndrome end in abortion
http://www.lifenews.com/2011/04/19/90-of-down-syndrome-children-aborted-survivors-bring-joy/

Pork-Chop on August 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Reminds me of this story of this story:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11005285/Australian-couple-abandon-surrogate-twin-with-Downs-syndrome-but-keep-his-sister.html

Couple abandons baby with Down’s Syndrome, keeps his twin sister, after surrogate mom refuses to abort.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

You should see the nasty pics we send him culled from the web.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Oh man the things I could write…but I am sure your wife is off limits. Chuckle!

HonestLib on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I think the Marx brothers are meh-and I liked Jim Carey when he was in ILC.

Henry Cho, Jim Gaffigan, and Dennis Miller are my thing.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Only guys are supposed to find the Three Stooges to be funny. Except I don’t think they’re funny either.

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Tosh’s seemingly impenetrable defense is precisely that he does make fun of everyone. And while I don’t personally watch him any more (mostly because of the excess of scatological humor) he is, at times, very funny.

o_O

Tosh does rag on every group…and knows how to do that in context. It’s the same with the Redskins name, it’s not meant to be derogatory or racist.

JetBoy on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Cindy: I don’t think the Stooges were really trying to be funny. They were trying to push the limits of insane. Un-PC as it may sound, insane is often funny. (see Monty Python – Village Idiot)

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:28 PM

I don’t like stuff done about children or people with mental retardation issues, because they are not as able to stand up for themselves. It seems cheap and cruel.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 8:21 PM

.
Tell me what you think this means:

SOFA KING WE TODD IT

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:29 PM

I do not find the Three Stooges the least bit funny.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I don’t know any chicks who actually like the Three Stooges.

JetBoy on August 9, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Roses are red…
Violets are Blue…
There’s no bigger cheapskate…
Than a Scots Jooo.
*I am Scots AND Jewish. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:32 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Yeah, Fire Marshall Bill was kinda funny. LOVE Dennis Miller, always have.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Okay… I think the Three Stooges are funny.

Also… Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and even the Marx Brothers.

All of them, and many others, had moments and aspects of their work that I think are hilarious.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Fenris on August 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM JetBoy on August 9, 2014 at 8:31 PM

I have heard that also.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

And you never will. Guess what? I don’t care. I’m proud to be a redneck hillbilly!

ladyingray on August 9, 2014 at 7:09 PM

So how’s your cousin?

Ok, I apologize, Jazz made me do it.

arnold ziffel on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

I do not find the Three Stooges the least bit funny.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

.
Nyek-Nyek-Nyek-Nyek-Nyek!!!!!!

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

For those who prefer their humor without blue material http://www.cleancomedians.com

nuclearoptional on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on August 9, 2014 at 8:32 PM

Sigh….ALT……sigh.

HonestLib on August 9, 2014 at 8:37 PM

I do not find the Three Stooges the least bit funny.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM

And to think I thought you were perfect. Very sad that you can’t appreciate a nice eye-poke.

arnold ziffel on August 9, 2014 at 8:37 PM

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:35 PM

I’m not big on slapstick comedy but the Marx Brothers could say some very provocative stuff but you had to listen carefully. I found that out late in life about Popeye cartons. A lot of mumbling geared towards adults.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:38 PM

arnold ziffel on August 9, 2014 at 8:37 PM

I know, I’ve tried, I really have. But I do think sarcasm is an art form.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

lol! Another stereotype, down in flames. :)

A great many women find them funny, both in audiences while they were working and now. I’ve screened their work for grad classes and there were plenty of women laughing right along with the guys.

It’s slapstick humor, born on the stages of vaudeville, to be sure, and it’s not going to appeal to everyone, but it does appeal across the gender line.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

LOL! Now you’re funny.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Nyek-Nyek-Nyek-Nyek-Nyek!!!!!!

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKAfXdb5LsA

JetBoy on August 9, 2014 at 8:41 PM

PC version of the old rhyme:

Stick and stones may break my bones,
But words said by white males – sometimes females – that can in any way be construed, however obliquely, as offensive to people of color, LGBTs, womyn, Muslims will get you branded racist-and-or-sexist, fired, ostracized and condemned by the media.

DrDeano on August 9, 2014 at 8:42 PM

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM

That’s true, I am sure there are plenty of ladies who like them. I liked Dick Van Dyke’s physical comedy and some in old Cary Grant movies, so either the comic has got to be hot or there needs to be a story wrapped around it somewhere.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:38 PM

That’s a great insight about Popeye cartoons, and not everyone noticed that direct appeal to adults. You have a keen eye.

The Marx Brothers worked that over the top aspect of their work very well, both in terms of pushing the envelope of uncontrolled chaos on set, as well as verbal jibes. It, too, was born on the vaudeville circuit. The need to exaggerate every move on stage and unleash as much activity as possible to keep the attention of the audience likely fed it, and when they went to film work, where the camera could zoom in on any given aspect, that uncontrolled chaos they had developed as a stage routine became bigger than life. Their directors used to tear their hair out trying to capture the best bits, since the Marx Brothers had a reputation for ad lib, improvising, showing up late, and refusing to do retakes.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM

I wrote a reply to you and it has gone into moderation and I swear to goodness I went back and looked at it and can figure it out.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

I’m going to test some stuff. Cary Grant.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

I like all of that except showing up late.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Is Dick Van Dyke the secret moderation culprit?

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

I think the moderator has been twitchy lately. I’ve had some very clean, ordinary, uncontroversial posts that didn’t use any name brands or the term for a facility where people place a bet, get lost to the moderator lately, too.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Cary Grant.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

.
Only funny if you say JewdeeJewdeeJewdee… but even then it’s worn and trite and has only familiarity as its appeal.

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

He’s probably pretty upset at Stephen Colbert then, huh? This guy has an entire show dedicated to mocking conservatism. And it’s not even funny.

ButterflyDragon on August 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Oh my goodness. You will not believe what went into moderation. Let me see if I can rewrite this so it will go through. I like the physical comedy of the actor who played Rob Petrie, who’s name gets caught in moderation, and Cary Grant. I don’t know if it is because these guys are hot or there is just more story wrapped around the physical comedy.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Jack: that is true of many early cartoons. WB and ‘the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show’ are my favorite examples. Watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon and see how many dialogue references would be understood by adults, or adults and children differently.

DemetriusPhalerum on August 9, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Yes, going off script was a problem since the director had no idea what they were going to say at any given time and couldn’t plan any shots and closeups in those days were incredibly important, since people were in love with seeing their favorite stars up close on the big screen.

The lateness problem was so bad that the studio assigned production assistants to each of them and the PA’s sole task was to see that they arrived at the studio on time and ready to work. It didn’t generally help. When they were late every person involved in the film on set stood around waiting and the producers burned though budget with no footage to show for it.

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 8:54 PM

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