On poor craftsmen & offensive comedians blaming audiences

“College Students Don’t Want to Hire Racist or Homophobic Comedians. Why Is That a Problem, Exactly?” | Bitch Media:

Screening out comedians who make rape jokes and gay jokes seems like a good thing to me—and likely to millions of college students. Like all writers who make this case, Flanagan seems unwilling to accept that the goals students seek might be worth the boundaries they set. Personally, I find it easy to believe that a comedy act free of sexism, racism, and anti-queer jokes would be an improvement over the status quo.

Agreed. I find it frustrating that certain comedians are getting away with blaming audiences for not finding their offensive “jokes” funny instead of acknowledging that this means they need better/different material. I sort of think that if you’re a standup, and your stuff isn’t getting laughs and positive reactions, for whatever reason, you probably need to do one of 3 things:
– Find different material
– Find a different audience that likes your current material
– Quit and do something else with your life

Those choices could be applied to both genuinely terrible comics and genuinely brilliant but under-appreciated comics who haven’t found their niche yet. Ideally the good ones find their audiences and the terrible ones get a life.

Unfortunately, that isn’t getting across to the type of standup comics who whine about “PC” audiences supposedly blocking or censoring their jokes. That whining is, in my opinion, also a weird double-standard only being applied to very specific content that isn’t funny, as opposed to all content that isn’t funny. What if audience taste changed some other way, rather than becoming airquote “more PC”? Wouldn’t you just adapt?

I mean, many standups used to just make dull observational humor about airplane food. Most audiences lost interest. Comics adapted. But audience taste is now shifting such that many audiences don’t want you making sexist jokes, racist jokes, homophobic jokes, rape jokes, etc. so that’s now “PC” interference? Adapt your material. Be funny.

If audiences are no longer interested in your material for whatever reason (irrelevant, offensive, whatever) that’s on you, not them. “My material is funny. You just don’t get it.” Ok, well, either it’s not or you’re at the wrong audience or you should quit. Not our problem. The anti-“PC” whiner stand-ups and their defenders seem to believe an audience that pays to enjoy comedy should essentially be subjected to material, regardless of quality. Except they only seem to believe that when the content in question conforms to their worldviews and ideologies.

Bill Humphrey

About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is the primary host of WVUD's Arsenal For Democracy talk radio show and a local elected official.
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