The Daily Gamecock

Comedians shouldn’t tailor jokes to audience taste



Successful performers can be offensive, funny at same time



Offensive humor has been a major trend in pop culture over the past year or so. Comedians and entertainers have been grabbing headlines for their outlandishly derogatory remarks. In spite of all of this, they have continued to perform, and people have continued to enjoy their jokes. Humorists have seemed to be taking the old phrase “All press is good press” to heart. It is nothing new for comedians to tell jokes regarding taboo subjects, but in a time where political correctness seems to be of supreme importance, they’re starting to be criticized for it.

Popular comedians are making a living out of pushing the thin line of clever and crude. On Feb. 19, comedian Anthony Jeselnik’s show “The Jeselnik Offensive” premiered on Comedy Central. The premise of the show, in a similar style to Jeselnik’s stand-up, is to poke fun at sensitive topics. Through the studio audience’s groans, Jeselnik makes fun of topics ranging from Christopher Dorner to the Virginia Tech killer’s fashion sense. When popular comedian Daniel Tosh told rape jokes during a set, the public was outraged, saying he should not make light of such a terrible incident. During the show, a woman in the crowd insisted on telling Tosh he should not make the joke.

In another recent example of tasteless humor, the popular satirical news organization The Onion came under fire when they called 9-year-old Academy Award nominee Quvenzhane Wallis the c-word. After a great amount of negative feedback, The Onion deleted the tweet. There was so much backlash from the tweet because they have a reputation for biting satire and when they came out with a lame tweet for shock value, everyone was more disappointed than shocked. The Onion quickly released a statement expressing regret for the tweet.

Many comedians have been walking this thin line for years now, and some have succeeded more than others. South Park has won the approval of fans and critics despite episodes on touchy topics. South Park can get away with this humor because it does not bombard viewers with the issue. Their secret to success is making the offensive topic the back story and focusing instead on the clever lines of dialogue and the impeccable timing in the show.

Despite what the public or sensationalist media wants, comedians will continue to push boundaries. As long as they go about this in a smart way, the public has no right to be upset. By giving them your attention, you are signing an agreement to hear whatever they think is funny, whether you agree with it or not. If viewers don’t appreciate the crude comedy shows of Daniel Tosh or other related performers, the best way to express disapproval is to just not watch it at all.