Comedians in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Comedians are currently an endangered species thanks to political correctness taking offence at almost every joke in a comedians repertoire. By its very nature comedy is about making fun of ideas, cultures, races, stereotypes, races, religions, politics, individuals and beliefs. Comedy is only successful when there is a grain of truth in the humour and our ability to laugh at ourselves and others is healthy.

With this background in mind, I was surprised to see a Kiwi comedian making a complaint about this listing on Trademe.

An auction listing showing models in black-face has been removed from Trade Me after scores of complaints on social media.

The listing – advertising a $15.29 “afro unisex black wig” – showed two people with their faces painted black. […]

Kiwi Comedian Rose Matafeo

Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo was among those to complain about the listing.

Rose clearly has no personal need for an Afro wig.

“Trade me I’ve reported this already but you should shut this sh*t down immediately,” she wrote on Twitter.

Trade Me quickly removed the listing and apologised: “You’re right this isn’t appropriate.

“It’s been pulled down & we’ll be talking to the seller. Thanks for bringing it to our [attention].”

The seller, BuySend, is an online retail store based in the UK that has many other colourful costume wigs up for grabs still.

Among them are an adult’s “black Rasta dreadlocks” wig, an “Indian wig with headband” and a “Che Guevara hat & hair” headpiece.

Rose Matafeo shouldn’t be complaining about funny costumes and props when she is in the business of funny costumes and props, all of which are bound to offend some activist group.

From far left, Funny Girls’ Laura Daniel, Rose Matafeo and van Beek.

Comedians are under attack all over the western world these days and if it continues the way it is going comedy will become a thing of the past. It will simply not be worth making people laugh when you run a real risk of ending up in court. Matafeo is foolish to get precious about costume stereotypes when her comedy career is incredibly vulnerable to criticism precisely because stereotypes are the basis of most jokes.

Disabled joke lawsuit:

French-Canadian comedian Mike Ward is planning to fight a decision ordering him to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a child singer with disabilities, who was the butt of one of his jokes.

“I’m disappointed and a little embarrassed to be Canadian. On the world stage, we look like a bunch of buffoons that can’t tell the difference between comedy — artistic expression — and real life,” Ward told VICE News. “We are going to appeal.”

Homophobic joke lawsuit:

A Canadian comedian has been fined $15,000 by a human rights tribunal for unleashing a tirade of sexist and homophobic insults against a lesbian couple in the audience. But some are concerned this decision will limit the rights of performers […]

Family joke lawsuit:

Mothers-in-law are prime targets in stand-up, but Sunda Croonquist’s mother-in-law, Ruth Zafrin, did not appreciate the attention. In 2009, Zafrin filed a lawsuit against her daughter-in-law for making false and “highly offensive” comments about Zafrin and members of her family. […]

Political joke lawsuit:

[…] The South Korean comedy star earned the legal ire of disgraced policymaker Kang Yong-suk, who didn’t find one of Choi’s politically charged jokes very funny, even though the bit wasn’t specifically about him. The Former Grand National Party member sued Choi, the host of South Korea’s Gag Concert, on behalf of all politicians over a sketch in which the jokester explained to children how they could achieve a career in politics: By bribing election committees, “shak[ing] hands with old ladies” at “the local market place you hardly ever visit,” and making grand campaign promises. […]

Religious joke lawsuit:

[…] The California man sued Leno and NBC on behalf of himself and the Bol Punjabi All Regions Community Organization, charging them with libel. The suit seeks general, special and punitive damages for “[hurting] the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to those of the plaintiff.”

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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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