Many of you are probably unaware, but standup comedy is a real passion of mine. I’ve even been moderately successful at the art form. I made it to the finals of the 2016 Ventura Comedy Festival. I was recently featured on Laughs TV on Fox. I even filmed a 40-minute comedy special in March. I only mention this so that you, the reader, understand that I have some perspective on standup comedy, writing jokes and knowing the risk of telling a joke — any kind of joke. So please don’t read this article thinking that I should try standup first and then judge our recent newsmakers. Been there. Done that. Sold the T-shirt.
Recently, two standup comedians have gotten into some trouble for making offensive jokes, and buzz words like “free speech” get thrown around after provocateurs say or write something to provoke. Comedy is about as close as we get to philosophy today, and while no one wants to see our modern philosopher’s censored, self-censorship would benefit us greatly.
Self-censorship has always been where conservatives take the high road, whereas leftists have never been able to handle it. Censorship is wrong. Self-censorship is a sign of maturity and wisdom. Liberals usually call for totalitarian censorship, trying to ban people or movies or shows that offend the snowflake PC culture, but they never call for their people to use courtesy or common sense. So when Kathy Griffin holds the fake head of Donald Trump soaked in blood or Bill Maher refers to himself a “house nigger,” the answer isn’t to boycott or fire, but instead to encourage people to use better judgement. As a teacher I used to call these “learning moments.”
To understand Maher’s mindset in using the N-word is probably impossible. A self-appointed poster child for liberalism, Maher probably feels entitled to say the N-word because of history with black comedians and dating black women. But Chris Rock once said that white people don’t get to say that word because it’s like calling your kid an idiot. You can call your kid one but no one else can.
Ironically, I too have an N-word story. I listened to a lot of Richard Pryor growing up. In fifth grade I decided to repeat a joke of his that used the N-word. Out of ignorance, as I was unaware it was even a racial slur, I used the joke in class. Let’s just say it backfired. As a little marshmallow of a kid, I didn’t know what the word even was. What Maher did wasn’t malicious, he thought he was being funny, but it shows that he isn’t any more mature than I was in fifth grade. While liberals think of themselves as the mature ones, often they’re the children.
Ice Cube recently told Rolling Stone magazine that this reveals racism runs through the liberal levels too.
“It’s just not funny to diss at least the ones who got it fucked up,” he continued, “and it’s like rich, white guys are the reason why black people are in the position they’re in. You’re supposed to be a champion, or you’re supposed to be a liberal, but racism lives in both parties. It does. So let’s throw away the facade and the bullshit. Let’s be real.” Ice Cube’s analysis is spot on. So often liberals cry racism in the GOP, but they have their own projectors.
Griffin’s headless Trump photo is a far worse joke though. Her “satirical” call to revolt went beyond a bad joke and treaded on criminal behavior. I don’t support Trump, but he is the president, and even joking about calling for his head isn’t a joke. She claimed that it was in reference to his nearly one-year-old-Megyn-Kelly-bleeding-everywhere comment. If that’s true, then Griffin violated the No. 1 rule of comedy: timing.
Humor and crossing the line is obviously a fuzzy area. In the end, I can only give the best conservative answer possible: I wouldn’t do what Griffin or Maher did or said, and they have the right to try their brand of humor, I just wish they had the wisdom, foresight and self-censorship ability to have seen what everyone already knew was no laughing matter.