Monday, June 13, 2011

Did Michael Richards Teach Us Nothing?

Can we all just agree that spewing hate speech in front of crowds is a bad idea no matter what expectation is of humor? First it was Michael Richards spewing racial slurs on stage in the name of comedy. And just a few days ago it was Tracy Morgan taking on gays at the Ryman in Nashville, again using the thin guise of comedy.

Saying you meant something to be funny doesn't mean you just get to say it. Freedom of speech protects your right to spew idiotic crap without fear of being jailed for it. It doesn't protect you from the consequences.

I love good comedy. It takes a courageous view of the world and usually has someone going out on a limb to do it. But typically these aren't funny comments. I know "funny" is subjective, but typically it's humorous, not hurtful, in nature. There are some racist things that are funny, just as there are some misogynist things that are funny. But in the end, funny typically does not entail descriptive words like "rant."

Here's my one-line for comedians: If you or someone you trust feels you have to issue an apology after you tell a joke or "rant," then it's probably best to avoid it.

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