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The Kilt

The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

Beyond A Punchline

Comedy’s Fine Line with Social Influence
Beyond+A+Punchline

Comedy is no place for discrimination. Comedians not only represent their community but comedy as a whole. You will never hear someone say “___ type of people can’t be comedians” It is an indiscriminate community. Some comedians write dialogues about specific communities that they’re in or follow, however, some like to speak more generally.

There is no limit to comedy. There are communities of comedians for all to have fun in and laugh. However, there are also antagonistic comedians as well. These are comedians who put individuals down for comedy, who highlight stereotypes to fit in with a certain crowd, and who utilize their privilege for personal gain or to pander to a certain audience.

One example of these antagonistic comedians would be Tiffany Haddish, an African American and Eritrean-Jewish comedian. Haddish’s career took off in 2017 with her leading role in the comedy film Girls Trip. Time magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.

She was invited to her second year of the Met Gala in 2019. Tiffany Haddish had stuffed fried chicken in her bag and brought it to the Met Gala. She claimed “Last year, I came… it was not enough food… I was hungry, and when I’m hungry my attitude is not good… So I said, ‘I’m gonna be prepared this year… So I brought chicken.” This was a stunt to play into the role assigned to her, a joke that banked on her being an African American bringing her own fried chicken being a stereotype pandering towards the white audience and seeking validation towards specific laughs. She intended to look cute and quirky with this stunt but in reality, it is just a negative stereotype to seek validation from certain eyes. Seeking the validation of a specific and immature audience. 

Tiffany Haddish just recently took a first-class flight to Israel to “learn about politics” and to “see things for herself.” She states in a video she deleted, she doesn’t feel like she can “believe” everything she sees on the internet and that’s why she went. She also stated in the same video, “What I saw online, I didn’t like.” Tiffany Haddish was also in a video with Noah Tishby in which they are talking about pickles being a Jewish food and about Jewish history which is obvious propaganda, making these videos while people in Gaza starve. This video has been made to downplay the crimes that are happening in Gaza right now. On the surface, it is an innocent video, yet the true intent is to distract you from the crimes in Gaza. This comes from her being Jewish, she has a bias because of this and that is why she is trying to downplay these crimes.

Joseph Glenn Herbert is a Filipino American comedian, professionally known as Jo Koy. The theme with Jo Koy’s “jokes” is that there is no punchline. Even though they aren’t funny, they ridicule people instead of humoring them. His whole bit is making fun of Filipino people, especially his own Filipino mother. His jokes in his shows are very repetitive and we see the same thing in making fun of his mother and taunting Filipino accents in most of his comedy sets. He recently hosted the Golden Globe Awards, in which Jo Koy received much backlash as he told several misogynistic and sexist jokes. “Ruining the Filipino representation” is what some in the Filipino community describe it as. Jo Koy’s jokes at the Golden Globe Awards. One bit was Jo Koy comparing Barbie and Oppenheimer movies, Jo Koy ended up saying Barbie was about a doll with “big boobies.” This joke was not well received by the majority of the viewers because it is misunderstanding the film and putting women down as a result. Another bit was Jo Koy talking about Taylor Swift saying she has more camera shots in the Golden Globes Awards than in an NFL game. Jo Koy is not funny, his shows are repetitive, he has told several misogynistic and sexist jokes, and he doesn’t care to understand the material he talks about.

Amy Schumer is an American comedian, actress, writer, producer and director. She gets quite a bit of hate now but is it deserved? Amy Schumer has made distasteful and crude jokes. Many feel her humor is unevolved and that she makes too many jokes about her body parts, and bodily functions completely relying on the shock factor. One of the jokes she made is telling American entertainer Steve-O, “I truly am, no joke, sorry for the loss of your friend, Ryan Dunn,” Schumer said on The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie. “I know you must’ve been thinking, ‘It could’ve been me,’ and we were all thinking, ‘Why wasn’t it?” At the time it was 3 months after Ryan Dunn’s passing and she received groans from the crowd who thought the joke was less than distasteful.

Amy Schumer compares herself to Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. She also turned down an 11 million dollar Netflix deal because she felt it was not enough money. Her arrogance and bad attitude make it hard to work with her on sets. Not only does she make distasteful and crude jokes, Amy Schumer has a past of offensive jokes in which she relied on poking at race and conserving racial stereotypes. Amy Schumer recreated Beyonce’s music video “Formation” with white friends. Many found this wrong considering the meaning and themes of the song and how it is about Beyonce celebrating her culture, identity, and success as an African American from the southern United States. Amy Schumer has said ‘jokes’ in the past like “Nothing works 100% of the time besides Mexicans” and in another segment, she told the audience “I used to prefer Hispanic guys but now I prefer consensual.” This is her way of telling the audience that Hispanic men are rapists. She also “joked” that Latina women are “crazy.” Amy Schumer has been labeled as a “well-known feminist comedian.” Amy Schumer is not a feminist icon, not an icon for anybody. A feminist icon is not describing Latina women as crazy. And it is never acceptable for anyone, especially a white woman to imply that Hispanics, or any individual for that matter, is an inherent rapist.

Matt Rife is an American comedian and actor. He is very well-liked for his stand-up comedy in particular. On November 15th he premiered in his Netflix special. He started off his special with a few domestic violence jokes back to back. The joke included him telling a story about being in a “rachet” restaurant with a friend talking about a hostess with a black eye, they wonder why the restaurant had the server working up front with a black eye instead of in the back so customers wouldn’t see, Rife says “Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.” This joke is a cliche; it uses the misogynistic history of women being abused by men as a punchline. He received an overwhelming amount of backlash so he made an Instagram story saying “If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told- here’s a link to my official apology.” The link then took you to a website that sold “special needs helmets.” Misogynistic and ableist.

Matt Rife has a history of making problematic jokes, he makes remarks about women’s private parts not being up to his standards. Many argue that they aren’t clever or funny enough to make sense and that he relies on the shock factor and his good looks. He stated that if anyone hates him for anything he has ever said then they’re jealous of him, “People only hate somebody they are jealous of.” Matt Rife has a fanbase of predominantly women. They have given him this success and now he is trying to lean more towards guys and this shows what kind of person he really is. Matt Rife has admitted that his fanbase is mostly women and that he gets ridiculed for that, he said in a more defensive tone that he doesn’t pander towards women. This further shows who he really is especially with the jokes as of recent have been misogynistic. His masculinity has been threatened and he feels like he needs to regain it, therefore feeling like putting women down will help him gain his masculinity back. Losing his fanbase he came up with, trying to appeal to men.

The line is drawn when the comedian tries to pander to a certain audience, this usually ends up in rejecting the audience they’ve already built just like Matt Rife. If you have built your audience where you want to make your comedy then all is fine the point where you cross the line is trying to be something else. Everybody in this article has crossed this line. An example of this not crossing the line is Fluffy or Gabriel Iglesias. He built his comedy mostly on fat and Hispanic jokes and he kept the same theme throughout his career only innovating his comedy

Comedy is a place for no discrimination. These types of people who will put people down, who highlight stereotypes, and who utilize their privilege shouldn’t be comedians. These are antagonistic comedians who misrepresent themselves and comedy as a whole. Comedy has played a serious role in further facilitating social justice, making consumers look at themselves, and look back on all around them. Even though these people have made these influences they have also been advocates. Amy Schumer has shed light upon rape culture, misogyny, and sexism and Jo Koy has donated so much to the Philippines. But we need not to discriminate. Comedy is for everybody, everybody deserves to laugh.

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Trey Henley, Staff
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