Responding to Offensive Humor

Last weekend, several Filipino netizens raised concern over comedian Vice Ganda’s jokes about veteran broadcast journalist Jessica Soho during his comedy concert at the Big Dome last May 17, 2013. The jokes concerned Ms. Soho’s weight and rape. In a nutshell, Vice Ganda joked that if Ms. Soho was to venture into adult entertainment, the set-up/plot should always have her gang-raped.

The joke itself was insulting as it concerned rape, and no, rape is never funny. The concert was a giant comedy bar though, so if you’ve been to one, or understand that kind of humor,  then you’d understand how offensive they could get in there.

Offensive humor is not limited to local comedy bars nor Vice Ganda’s skits. Shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, comedians and comediennes like Sarah Silverman, Russell Brand, Kathy Griffin and Dave Chappelle all have had people getting mad at them for mocking certain personalities, health afflictions, and groups. Other types of Filipino jokes are also offensive, such as those that make fun of Senator Nancy Binay’s intelligence and color, celebrities-turned-politicians like Erap, Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid, personalities like Mystica and Madame Auring and internet sensations like that female college student who got angry at a female security guard (“Amalayer”) and Christopher Lao. Heck, some people even make fun of the Bisaya accent, or  even worse – people from other ethnicities!

I personally believe if you’ve found something offensive in someone or a group’s brand of comedy, you just have to stop patronizing  the person, place or group, or change channels if it’s on broadcast, or leave the webpage if it’s online. Or you can choose to take a stand and express your hurt or concern and surely make people more aware and socially-sensitive, provided that you’ll be consistent with your choice brand of comedy. If you’re offended, then don’t offend other people. Because if you get mad at Vice Ganda for telling “fat jokes”, then make racist jokes yourself, then that would be hypocritical.

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