We pick on Glee a lot for being offensive, and I’m getting a little worried that we’re gonna look like a couple of assholes who are just calling out TV shows for the slightest infraction. This is not at all the case, and I’m going to try and explain our views on “offensive” comedy. We really, really don’t care how offensive a TV show (or anything else) gets. I’ve watched a number of episodes of Two Broke Girls, and it’s terrible. It’s a horrible show, but it’s not really trying to be anything else. It makes racial jokes because that’s all it has. It’s a sad state of affairs, but we’re not offended.
What we care about is when a TV show (such as Glee) sets itself up to be a movement against homophobia, racism, and Mean People, and then goes and makes the entire show based on shallow stereotyped jokes. Our problem is the hypocrisy, not the content.
Here is our firm opinion on comedy:
There are no taboos.
We 100% believe that. There is no subject that is too far, and there is no subject that is off limits. There are only people who approach topics poorly, and people who don’t understand what the actual joke is about.
We’ll give you an example.
In his special “Hilarious”, Louis CK does an excellent joke about fucking a dead kid in a field. That sounds terrible, and us calling the joke “excellent” make us sound like terrible people. But it sounds terrible because we sucked all the funny out of the joke by just stating the premise in a comedic vacuum—and that’s what happens when someone is offended. They state a joke as fact, suck all the funny out of it, and then they make it offensive. It wasn’t offensive when Louis CK said it, it was offensive when some asshole recounted it, because he was an unfunny piece of shit. Watch the original special, and if you’re offended by what Louis actually said, that’s fine. We don’t have to be friends.
The worst thing that someone can do to comedy is to take a joke out of context. Great comics are wholly open and honest on stage, bits come up that aren’t planned, and they aren’t trying to censor themselves. So, when you’re some idiot who went to a Tracy Morgan show and got offended, you got offended because you’re an idiot. In the hundreds of articles that came out of that whole clusterfuck, Tracy Morgan was quoted as “wanting to stab gay kids”. This is 100% true if you don’t have a funny bone in your body. What actually happened was that he was in the midst of a bit about how he thinks that gay people shouldn’t talk with a lisp. And if he son were gay, he’d better come and tell him “like a man”, and not with a lisp, or he would “stab that little nigga”.
This certainly isn’t an open minded joke, and it’s probably not even a good joke, but it certainly doesn’t mean that Tracy Morgan wants to stab gay people. It means that Tracy Morgan says crazy shit on stage, and not all of it is going to be palatable to everyone. The fact that he made that joke does not mean that he’s homophobic, or that he’s prejudiced, or any of the myriad of things that he was accused of. He very well may be homophobic or prejudiced, but not because of that joke. Also, THERE WAS NO VIDEO OF THE JOKE. The entire proof of his homophobia came in the form of a Facebook note posted by someone who was at the show. A fucking Facebook note.
In the weeks after the whole Tracy Morgan thing, bloggers clearly got the message that taking comics out of context was going to give them mad page views. So then Jo Koy did a show in Chicago, used the word “faggot”, and then another shitstorm started. I actually know the guy who opened the show, and he wrote a very interesting blog post about the whole thing, which you can read here. Scroll down to Wednesday (and especially the end of the post) for his account of the whole stupid incident.
Here’s what really bugs me the most: that Glee is so willing to make certain topics taboo, while also protecting their own shitty jokes under the umbrella of comedic license. They are setting fire to this umbrella that we love so much, and we we’re just trying to kick them the fuck out from under it.
Great comedy is raw, uncensored and honest. If it ever becomes hesitant or guarded, then it has lost everything that makes it great. In trying to guard comedy, you are killing art. Stop killing art.