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Misogyny in Comedy

Lindy West of Jezebel and The Stranger fame is on the show to discuss misogyny in stand up comedy and what her experience has been publicly criticizing jokes made at the expense of victims of sexually violent crimes. She recently received a barrage of internet hatred due to an appearance she made on Totally Biased with Kamau Bell, debating Jim Norton on this topic. The mistake Norton makes in the discussion, and most people mad at West have made, is she is not trying to censor people, she’s just criticizing them. If you say After Earth is a terrible movie, that’s not the same as saying that M. Night Shyamalan should not be allowed to make movies ever again. He probably shouldn’t, but that’s not the point.


I’ve always felt that stand up comics are supposed to be on the cutting edge. They are supposed to be the smartest and most insightful person in the room. They are supposed to see through all the B.S. in the world. The point of stand up comedy is to reveal a universal truth in a hilarious way. That truth could be about the state of race relations or just what it’s like to go shopping at the grocery store. That doesn’t mean that everything comics say has to be politically correct. You can make a joke that sounds offensive but is actually making a thoughtful and compassionate point. But if the point of your joke shouldn’t be that one group of people is less than another, your joke isn’t true and your joke isn’t funny.

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-Jake Barker

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