Morgan Murphy makes several extremely humorous observations on life that often color outside the lines of polite conversation on her special "Irish Goodbye". She eventually summarizes that people often say to her that if she were not a comic that she would be the funniest girl in the office, a sentiment that she does not agree with because her male counterparts would never be seen as the funniest guy in the office. She explains, "They'd be the fucking crazy guy in the office. They'd be the guy where everybody's gathered in the little kitchenette at lunch around the microwave and going, 'Um, that guy talks about rape all day. Something's wrong with him. No, like seriously wrong with him. He shouldn't work here. He thinks it's funny." I found the sentiment to be extraordinarily funny since I have indeed found myself to be that guy; spouting inappropriate humor during inappropriate times, damning the displeased audience around me for not having a stronger backbone in accepting a little cynicism, disgruntlement, and naughtiness. Indeed, in this world of increasing political correctness, I do find a heightened yearning to color outside the lines since there seem to be so many of them nowadays. It doesn't take too much of an effort these days to be misconstrued as a racist, sexist and/or homophobe. One ill intention towards Barack Obama could get you labeled a racist. Expressing your distaste in men in high heels could get you labeled a homophobe. Even the eternal LGBT stalwart RuPaul was smacked with the label "Transphobic" for using the word "She-Mail" on his television show "Drag Race." Much like the veins of a porn star's penis, the lines of impropriety are thick and numerous these days. One ill will could get you inadvertently labeled a "Bully". So in an exasperating world shared by rebelliously inappropriate humorists as well as highly attuned communities tiring of malignment the question does pop up; have we as a society become too sensitive to take a joke and are the joke masters helping matters by making fun of it?
particularly in our schoolyards, I am also a big proponent of self defense and increasing society's emotional wherewithal. While I find the cause of eliminating bullying a most amiable one, I question the realism of its total annihilation. I think there is something to be said about learning how to deal with assholes outside of acknowledging their assholishness by pointing a finger and simply calling them bullies. This definitely comes to mind when recalling the pockmarked tradition of insult comedy. When I first stumbled upon the works of notable insult comics Andrew Dice Clay and Lisa Lampanelli, I was initially (and instantaneously) offended, repulsed and enraged. Speaking with all the delicacy and succulence of a shit covered baseball bat, both comedians unraveled their take on life using epithets filled with so much vile, derision and affronts to human decency that even the most dedicated bleeding heart liberal would question their ideas on censorship... and the death penalty. And when armies of incensed people approached them displaying the emotional wounds they incurred while experiencing their shows, the both of them seemed to pull out the "I'm a comedian, these are just jokes" card. A defense I have never abided by until hearing their individual interviews on one of my favorite podcasts, "WTF with Marc Maron". Both comedians convincingly separated themselves from their onstage personas and effectively gave some much needed objectivity to their work. While I initially considered them both to be bullies, drunk with "spotlight courage" and enlarged "microphone muscles" spouting off diatribes about their disgust of anything even remotely ethnic, feminine or decent, during their interviews I was able to see the intentional and artful sarcasm in their work whereas they were pointing out their own indiscretions and mocking themselves in front of an audience. And every despicable feeling I had about the words that came out of their mouths, it seemed as if they shared the same disgust of racism, sexism and homophobia and were mocking the true racists, sexist and homophobes they based their onstage personas on. Though I still admittedly cannot fully embrace all of their work, I do tend to view them more on the lines of complicated, intriguing and frustrating art house installations a la Archie Bunker, fully aware of his idiosyncrasies, tells tales of the days when the "Darkies" first moved into his neighborhood.
Bernard Manning) or the humorists "cleverly" constructing urbane bits of comedy in a vacuum insulated from the pain of American History (the Onion deciding to tweet, "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that [9 year old] Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?" on Oscar night 2013).
What, if anything, is too serious to joke about?" And while many of my compatriots felt that nothing can not be shellacked with the gloss of humor, I have always maintained that timing is everything, some things actually are sacred, you just don't call a 9 year old a cunt, and you don't make fun of someone's recently deceased husband. And if I were to use the experience as a microcosmic view of the boundaries and sensitivities of a comedy inclined world, I think it would be best to swing for the rafters and be as provocative as possible. If you break something, be adult enough to admit it and apologize for it. And if someone breaks you, be adult enough to accept their apology. And the next time you're up to bat, try not to swing in that same direction again. I guess the goal is to always keep playing with each other and not let our own sensitivities and egos stop the game.
Coincidentally she did accept my apology then went on to explain how if I ever did get plastic surgery to make sure they switched my ass and my face back to their original positions. I retorted that she just wanted me to do that so she wouldn't have to bend over so much to kiss my ass. Again, I do believe some things actually are sacred and should not be touched. But I think with humor, you can figure out why... and move on.
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