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Are there any lines that comedy should not cross?

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Showing 51-75 of 81 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 4:02:07 AM PST
Rape being funny (or not) Man who raped a woman had a lawyer so good he got the charge down to "breaking and entering".

Posted on Dec 5, 2011 9:55:11 AM PST
Picket lines?
Cocaine lines?

I'm rather shocked to see so much opinion here that would restrict humor to some sort of "correctness". The humor impulse in humans tends to revel in precisely the incorrect.

If, as DarrenHF suggests, anything that crosses whatever line is no longer funny, then that's a good definition. The "line", then, would be whether or not it's funny, wouldn't it?

In fact jokes about religion, sex, famine, death camps, etc. have suceeded quite well for many years, and will continue to. We need it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2011 1:11:40 PM PST
Any answer other than a flat, "No!" is unacceptable and will be disregarded. The basest nature of comedy is "crossing the line." Sure, you can be funny without ever risking offending anybody (see Jay Leno.) But to be legendary, you MUST make some of the people uncomfortable (see Jay Leno as a stand-up comedian before he entered late-night TV.) Satiristas: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2011 1:18:19 PM PST
Yep. Michael Richards was baffled that it erupted the way it did. I don't know if he's racist or not, but I do know that he wasn't trying to be racist in that moment. He was trying to be funny and just failed miserably. Let experienced comics (ie. Jim Norton, Louis CK, Stanhope, Bill Burr) express the same sentiment equally aggressively and nothing would come of it because they know exactly how to phrase it.

RIP Patrice

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 9:44:35 AM PST
If you don't find sex funny, you'd better not look at Are You Boys Cyclists?Hurry! I'm in! This year I retired as a school librarian in Edinburgh and uploaded ten books onto kindle, all at 86p. I've been told these books are very funny, which is why I'm posting here. Sorry, it's a dollar in the states!!Alma Mater is about being a student and doing a lot of drugs at Edinburgh University. There are some very funny bits in it (people have told me!). But it's in the third person. I started a style of writing in the first person for Are You Boys Cyclists? which was published by Serpent's Tail. It's an idiosyncratic, semi autobiographical style owing maybe something to Henry Miller, Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski. It's got an explicit erotic element, but otherwise is about boxing and writing and living in rented flats in Edinburgh in the 1970s. Next up is The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf which is about a ridiculous buddhist

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 10:57:58 AM PST
Well, you wrote these, thanks, but I don't and have not bought anything off Kindle.

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 11:00:56 AM PST
...and someone else, doing sefl promotion like this has been thrown off this discussion...

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 10:42:17 PM PST
Tom Tiding says:
I think the joke has to be better the more vulnerable the target is. There's a reason that poor people making fun of rich people is funnier than vice versa.

If you're a rich, able-bodied white celebrity making fun of a crippled, blind girl who sells matchsticks, your joke better be pretty damn good.

And, while I don't think anything should be off-limits, there is a cost to making fun of marginalized groups. Even if you're in on the joke when you make fun of some group, it helps create a climate where others, who aren't in on the joke, feel like it's ok. Dave Chappelle said that was one of the reasons he quit his show-- too many people weren't in on the joke, but still felt it was ok to talk the same way he did.

I don't think this means you never cross those lines. It just means you think about it long and hard. [Insert offensive stereotype about long and hard here.]

Posted on Dec 22, 2011 12:27:20 PM PST
There are many subjects that, to some people, would and should be off limits, and are probably tasteless to everyone -- but even these subjects will be funny to somebody. I think DarrenHF said it well.

Posted on Dec 22, 2011 2:15:36 PM PST
D. Christal says:
I believe you can joke about anything. George Carlin summed it up best, "It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is. Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion."

Posted on Jan 3, 2012 10:23:38 PM PST
No there are no 'lines.' That's ridiculous. Everything is on the table for humor and ridicule. It better be; if not, we're in a heap of trouble, stuck with stark 'reality.'

My x-mas cards this year had my 3 kids - 2 boys (3, 9) and my baby girl (1) all wearing sweatshirts that said 'property of Penn State Athletic Dept.' and 'if found, return to Penn State Athletic Dept.' And its a scream! Its horrible, and tragic (maybe)... but what else are you going to do?

In life's great tragedies you better find humor; if you don't, you're only left with tragedy. I'm not saying 'be irreverent.' I'm just saying, if its gonna get funny, it better get funny real quick...

But, boundaries...

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 11:43:11 AM PST
Tom Tiding says:
Now Chad, I think that's very very funny.... But how did you convince your wife??

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 9:22:17 AM PST
mom2all4 says:
I tend to think whether or not certain types of humor (racial, religious disability) depend on if the comic themselves is a member of that group. Most comedian's drawn on their own lives as joke material right? One of the funniest comedy specials I have ever seen was by a disabled comedian. He did all sorts of topics and even occasionally one would involve his handicap. I really wish I knew his name he was great!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 9:24:11 AM PST
mom2all4 says:
Good point.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 9:26:51 AM PST
mom2all4 says:
"...ah Michael Richards.... was unfairly treated. He's not really a stand up comic , but an actor who does comedy. He's not well with spontaneous. And that's who and what you know. He was picked on by blacks in the audience, and he shorted out. Instead of banter he gave anger."

He wasn't treated unfairly, he was "picked on" by AUDIENCE MEMBERS who happened to be black. The fact that their race was the his only focal point tells you something about his real inner feelings.

It seems to me at alot of live comedy shows the audience will taunt the comic expecting some good natured ribbing not racial slurs.

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 9:29:01 AM PST
A good joke also depends on empathy. I've felt Ann Coulter would be great at stand up, but she has zero empathy. She's brittle to the point of bering inhuman,

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 11:39:28 AM PST
There should be no limits to what a comedian can say. It all boils down to a matter of taste and you can't legislate taste. Lenny Bruce went broke for fighting court cases because certain morals and thought were being challanged in comedy clubs in the 50's and 60's and local authorties would arrest him on charges of indecency which were in flagrant violation of his civil rights and the constitution.

A true comic has the wit and wisdom to utilize racism, homophobia, and other hot button topics to make a point. This has been George Carlin's MO until the day he died and he had his problems with the folks who thought he "crossed the line".

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 1:37:35 PM PST
Mr. Darling says:
If nobody is offended, then it is not funny.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 2:51:23 PM PST
Tom Tiding says:
I think all comedy comes from surprise, not just offense. But it might be true that the best comedy comes from someone being offended.

Posted on Jan 9, 2012 6:53:19 PM PST
Yes, the Arizona-Utah border.

Posted on Jan 14, 2012 7:45:34 PM PST
Unleashed says:
If you're married must be delicate with marriage humor so wife does not shoot you

Here is funny book wife is not happy with but it had to be written at some point.
[[ASIN:B006XFOYK8 Funny Marriage Quotes

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 1:10:15 PM PST
Here's Patrice O Neal on the subject:

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 7:58:14 PM PST
norm cowie says:
For me, it's the 'f' word. I know Christopher Moore does it to pretty good effect, but most often for me it comes off as crude and offensive.

Posted on Jan 29, 2012 9:51:07 AM PST
joiedv says:
As long as its funny, anything and everything goes! The more offensive the better, if its funny! There are lots of heartaches in life and if one can make it funny, good for them. Cross those lines! But if its not funny, watch out. Of course, you never know, one person laughs and another storms out in anger. I think you can cross the lines if you're very famous. Kathy Griffin and her Jesus Sucks offended lots of people. It even made me blink once or twice but you can be sure I watched it. What unbridled testosterone. I love that! I admire her more for the fact that she did it than the material itself. But I also believe s she could never have gotten away with it early in her career.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2012 9:55:53 AM PST
joiedv says:
Well said, Robert. I agree heartily, but then I'm one of those people who are almost impossible to offend. Make me laugh and you can say anything, you can even make fun of me. Just make it funny. Isn't that what they call "roasting?" In the words of Bette Midler "F--- 'em if they can't take a joke..."
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Discussion in:  Humor forum
Participants:  48
Total posts:  81
Initial post:  Sep 1, 2010
Latest post:  Mar 14, 2012

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