Leave Funny People To Be Funny

I am pretty tolerant of most people. There are only a handful of characteristics that really annoy me. Among them are the obvious, racists, homophobes, or any type of bigot that acts like another human being is below them. Then you have the pessimists, that have a drab view on everything, that bugs the hell out of me. There is one other characteristic though that just just pisses me off to no end. If you follow my blog you are probably aware I complain about people who act like their morals are right and try to enforce them through law. In a way its been the topic of almost everyone of my posts. I cant stand that people think that if they don’t approve of something, then its is immoral and should be banned. The topic of my blog today is one of the worse cases of this. It is censorship, specifically the censorship of entertainers and comedians.

Before you continue this blog, I would like you to watch a video that perfectly capture my feelings about censorship. In the video is Patrice O’Neal, a comedian who unfortunately passed away from a stroke about a year ago. He explains his beef with censorship to a women who takes the jokes people make way to seriously.


“Funny people should be left to be funny” – Patrice O’Neal

Opie and Anthony had a segment on their popular radio show where a

homeless man called in and basically said he would like to rape ex White House cabinet member Condoleezza Rice. I didn’t find the segment funny personally  but many people did and supported Opie and Anthony, including Patrice in this interview on Fox News. This happened around the same time Don Imus was fired for his “nappy headed hoes” comment toward the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. Opie and Anthony ended up being suspended from XM Radio. In the video the women debating Patrice about whether Opie and Anthony should be fired just kept making the same comments, that seemed to me to be scripted, while Patrice was speaking from the heart. She said that women are disrespected in the media, and that all these jokes encourage violence towards women. She also calls out Patrice about a specific joke he made during a HBO Special he had called “The Angry Pirate”. When he tells the joke, you can hear the people in the back round of the new set start laughing, which Patrice very humorously points out. He makes great points throughtout the interview, about how the people complaining aren’t in the business of funny, they don’t watch or listen to these shows or comedy specials, and all the information they get about these “offensive jokes” is secondhand. people hear someone repeat a joke from a comedic show, then they complain about, then some public figure, like to women in the interview, comes out and complains about it to the media trying to get someone punished. No one who is offended by these jokes actually watches the shows. They know full well going into Patrice O’Neals show that he makes a lot of jokes of that nature. If that is something you don’t find funny, the answer is simple, don’t watch it. Opie and Anthony are on Sirius XM, you have to pay for the service to get their show. They are along the lines of Howard Stern, who had to move to Sirius XM because of all the censorship problems. No one listens to their show unless they intended to. Why do these people think that because they are offended, everyone is offended. Whether something is offensive or not is purely objective. You cant ban everything that is considered offensive because then there would be nothing in the media. I could just say I am offended by people being offended, does that mean Al Sharpton shouldn’t be allowed on TV.

Who are these people to tell me what I can and can not find funny. For a more recent example, lets look at something Anthony Jeselnik, one of the most popular comedians right now, said after the Boston Bombings.

Jeselnik Bombing Tweet

A lot of people were offended by this joke, so much so Comedy Central, who employs Jeselnik, forced him to delete the tweet. But in today’s day of age nothing can be deleted and it spread through the Internet like wild fire. People were calling for his job, and just trashing him completely  Thankfully he wasn’t fired, nor should he have been. He is a comedian, and a comedian known for pushing boundaries. If you follow him on twitter, or watch his show, you should be ready to hear some pretty profane things.  If that makes you uncomfortable, than you shouldn’t watch him. I personally defended him on twitter, and because of that, I received this very hypocritical comment in reply to my defense.

Not up to you or anyone to decide the validity of someone’s offense. RT @DylanFMackinnon I dont think people should be offended by jokes.

This surprised me, he says I cant tell someone how to feel, yet he was looking down on the people who said they found it funny. So I cant tell people they are over reacting and shouldn’t be offended, but you can tell me whether something is funny or not. He also went on to talk about trigger words, and how people don’t have a choice about whether to be offended. Once again, its well known that Jeselnik makes a lot of jokes about sensitive issues like rape, disasters like the Boston Bombing, and other issues like that. Of you are someone who tends to be sensitive, just don’t follow him. No one is forcing you to watch him, you can block him on twitter if you have to, why be offended? It justs comes back again to the fact that the word offensive is objective. We cant meet everyone’s needs. Why do people think that because they don’t like something, that it should be banned. Its an issue that just baffles me. I do not like the show Honey Boo Boo, I think it is just so uncreative and I cant see why anyone could be entertained by it. You wont see me calling for it to be canceled though. People like it for some reason, and though I hate it, I am fine with it being a show. I will just chose to avoid the show.

To add on to that, lets talk about grieving  Everyone grieves in different ways. Some cry, some turn to work, and some people make jokes. I make jokes to grieve. It helps me relax, and it keeps my mood up. If you want to cry and be sad for a few days, I understand. The Boston Bombings were a horrible thing, worth grieving over. But You cant tell me how to grieve. I don’t want a tragedy to define my mood, making jokes and staying positive is how I chose to deal with things. I don’t expect you to deal with it the same way, but you damn well better not tell me I am wrong for doing it because it is really none of your business one way or another how I deal with it.
I am a little all over the place here, but lets get now to the issue of censorship itself. Censorship, in most cases, is carried out by the FCC, a government agency. They set the rules on what can, and can not be said on the air. As an on the air personality at a College radio Station, I am aware on how strict they are on public radio. My question about this though, are jokes not freedom of speech? The FCC is by nature an unconstitutional organization. Their job is to set decency standards for the media, that’s a direct violation of Freedom of Speech. In fact the courts agree with me. Two years ago a Second Circuit Court ruled that the indecency laws set out by the FCC are in violation of the first amendment. Unfortunatly, this was later overturned by the Supreme Court. How can an goverment agency control freedom of speech, while there is an ammendment that guarentees freedom of speech will not be infringed. I am sorry, did the founding fathers say that freedom of speech, as long as no one is offended. NO! If you are offended, THEN DONT WATCH OR LISTEN TO THE SHOW.
I also want to touch on a point from earlier. The women said that jokes about women demean women and it encourages negative behavior towards women. Let me just say this, if someone takes a joke seriously like this women implies, then that person is most likely already sick in the head. This falls under the same category as violent video games, where people think that if someone is exposed to something, they start to change in correlation to whatever they are watching. Just like with the violent video games, studies into whether sexist jokes lead to real sexism were inconclusive. The disparity in the results of the tests implies that the people who seem to have become sexist after hearing sexist jokes, were already sexist.
Another problem I have with this argument is that it is so hypocritical. The women who made it went on and on about how comedians are promoting sexism through their jokes, but the she starts calling Patrice names. What? She starts calling him out, does she not realize that she is doing to him what she claims what he is doing to her? In fact worse, because she wasn’t joking, and he was. She actually said he is a fool, which tells people that he is stupid and should be ignored. I just don’t get it. So no one can say anything about women, but if they want to say some thing about another group of people that’s okay. Some people just don’t realize how bias they can be. And that’s the point about censorship. Everything can be construed as offensive. I dont see this lady defending fat people when people make fat jokes. Isn’t that in the same category as the jokes about women. What would happen if a Women made a similar statement about men? Would that be an issue? I doubt it.
Once again another example of how peoples personal morals are ingrained within society, whether we like it or not.
Rest in Piece Patrice O’Neal.