Comedy is a profession where there’s always a level of uncertainty as to whether what you say will land or fall flat, be deemed offensive or make a point, etc.
That’s just the territory and you have to take risks to be able to grow or you won’t get anywhere with your craft.
One thing that irks me about the perception of comedy is that comedians are bullies and that we as a profession are somewhat of a societal issue. In my time as a comedian and producer for Comedians on the Loose, I can safely say that comedians are not bullies.
Yes, there may he instances where political correctness is a hot button issue and audiences can be sensitive; I’ve even written blogs about it and I stand by them. However, at the end of the day, comics are just people trying to make our points in a way that makes others laugh. Someone who does anything else is NOT a comedian and using the guise of comedy promote their own agenda.
Here are my thoughts on this issue.
There’s a difference between free speech and hate speech.
It’s pretty well known about an incident that occurred with a “comedian” at one of our COTL functions. Without going into great detail the incident was horrific and guests were harassed by this person who said some of the most hate filled statements towards women I’ve ever seen in my life. Not only was it embarrassing on all sides, it was just so unnecessary and that person was ultimately kicked out after not ending his antics off stage.
In the wake of this incident there has been a mountain of support and the comedy community has banded together to take action. Additionally, the argument of free speech has been uttered by some people willing to throw in their opinion without all the facts. As someone who witnessed this incident I can safely say that this is by no means a free speech argument because inciting violence towards anyone is wrong. Period.
I have never seen a comic do anything like this; they may have a shitty joke that is sexist, homophobic, etc. that doesn’t land and they likely get no laughs and bomb, but no one has ever blatantly spewed venomous statements and antagonized the crowd. Any type of support for that behavior is just pathetic.
Hate speech will NEVER be comedy.
Sure, insult and shock comedy are not my favorite styles but there is a way that these styles of comedy still have a point that can be made. It doesn’t mean that everyone will laugh or agree but they will likely still respect you by letting you say what you have to say.
Hate speech is nonsensical and proves no points. It’s a clear attack on a group of people and can never be justified when that line is crossed.
As a production we will never condone such behavior and moving forward can assure that any person willing to do that while calling it “comedy” will not be welcome around our production.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!