When Does a Joke Go Too Far?
September 8, 2015
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NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to. We live in an interesting time because of our internet culture don't we?

NC (vo): Most of us just go online for either business or pleasure, but then there's another two groups of people we're all too familiar with: those looking to offend (OFFENDERS), and those looking to be offended (OFFENDIES).

NC: And admit it, we've all come across these people and their both, PAINS in the ass.

NC (vo): Extremist trolls looking to get attention by pissing people off, and extremist cry babies looking to get attention by acting like everything, everywhere is an insult. We usually shrug or laugh them off and then go on with out lives.

NC: But the combination of the two extremes has led to an interesting issue being addressed: our humour.

NC (vo): Some would argue humour has gone way too far, driving too much into bad taste and harsh stereotypes. Others would say humour has gone too soft; afraid to anger the politically correct sensitivities of the world.

NC: Are either of them right? Do any of them hold any water?

NC (vo): Well first of all, offensive comedy is nothing new. Comedians have been censored, harassed, even sent to jail for jokes that today would be seen as pretty common place. That's because, as mentioned by myself and others, all comedy is based on some form of misery. So you'll always have to address something unpleasant in order to get a laugh. George Carlin, one of the world's most beloved rule breakers once said, "Comedy doesn't work, unless someone's getting offended." And he's right. Puns are a mockery of language, goofy faces are a mockery of strange looking people, you really have to think about it, but, yeah. Somebody's pride has to be challenged in order to for it to work.

NC: But what most good comedians realise is the more truth in pain you can emphasise, usually the more funny it is.

NC (vo): Tom and Jerry is much funnier than Smurfs because it really looks like the pain hurts. Malcolm in the Middle is much funnier than Full House because they address much harsher realities. But of course if you were to see any of these in real life, you'd probably be horrified and wouldn't laugh at all. Hence, this is why comedy is a defence mechanism, which I go more into in other editorials.

NC: But this begs the question, when does a joke go too far? Why is it OK when Dave Chappelle...

NC (vo): ...uses the N-Word...

NC: ...but not OK when somebody else uses it like eeeh....

(Cut to Michael Richards' racist rant at The Laugh Factory, 2006)


(Cut back to the NC in awkward silence)

NC: ...yeah.

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