When it comes to unfiltered, comedic relief during these tumultuous times, we look to our beloved comedians to deliver. As we wade through the waters of nationwide racial tensions and “No My President” rhetoric, it’s safe to say that we all could use a laugh… or two.
This past week was permeated with news of comedians attempting to do just that: give us, the American people, something to laugh about. In their attempts, each have failed miserably, deserving nothing less than an L-pie to the face.
It all started with Kathy Griffin. Last week, Griffin left the internet clenching its pearls when she shared a gory photograph baring a bloody replica of 45’s decapitated head. Even if the joke got ahead of her in its execution, she did manage to pull out Trump sympathizers in the midst of the backlash, which is no small feat these days. Griffin has since apologized, “begging for our forgiveness” but has since been fired from her New Year’s Even gig with CNN.
Not two days later, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s late night show, “Real Talk with Bill Maher,” would join Griffin in the ranks of jokes-gone-wrong.
What started out as a seemingly harmless discussion between Maher and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. about his new book, The Vanishing American Adult, quickly turned “Quentin Tarantino” after Maher shared he needed to “get to Nebraska more.” To which Sasse replied, “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
Now, if you have any ounce of wit or clapback fiber within you, Sasse’s reply would serve as an olive branch for a clever retort, especially to a comedian like Maher. “Work in the fields?” he said, mocking the offer, “Senator, I’m a house [N-word].”
Sasse awkwardly smiled. Some audience members laughed, others groaned. Still, the conversation continued without missing a beat, as Maher passed off his remark saying “It’s a joke.” Yes, a joke indeed, but one best fit to remain in a little Black book of things to never say… umm, ever.
It’s easy to blame the age of social media for blurring the lines of what constitutes itself as our 1st Admemdement Right to free speech and what needs to remain in the privacy of our minds. Some would agrue that our current political climate is exposing both the inner frustrations of our neighbors as well as their inner bigot.
HBO shared in a statement that they would be, “removing [Maher’s] deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.” But will the network follow CNN’s lead and terminate Maher? Who’s to say. Some networks only move in this direction when they receive pushback from the genral public, a.k.a Twitter. But let’s face it, although both comedics were poor in their delivery, threats against the president made by a white woman holds more weight in the court of public opinon than racial slurs thrown about by a wealthy white man, even if that said President is sexist and racist himself.