As I browsed through the plains of YouTube one day, a few years ago, on my regular weekly spree of talent show videos, I stumbled across this video of a boy with cerebral palsy, by the name of Jack Carroll, who came out onto the stage, in his walker, doing an original stand-up routine. Aside from the fact that this brave kid decided to present himself with his disability and all to the entire world and perform for millions of people, he based his routine on himself, constantly jabbing at his disability and his supposed disadvantage. This, especially, stuck with me long after watching the video because it really showed me that anything, no matter how seemingly dark, or edgy or inappropriate can be turned into comedy. Although this wasn’t necessarily the message he clearly stated he wanted to convey with his performance, I still managed to gather this from him in my own way.
In this day and age, one in which everyone has their own voice and opinions and also an easy way to express said opinions to the world, I – along with many others – have found that we can all get a little too caught up in each other’s opinions, constantly worrying about upsetting the person next to us and catering to everyone’s needs. It seems to be extremely hard for us to just lighten up a bit, in short. Nowadays, everyone gets offended by something, regardless of whether or not it was meant to be offensive. I must say, I do find it to be a bit ironic how we are told, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and yet whenever we may make an attempt to evoke some laughter out of themselves or another, there will always be someone who will be offended, or who will tell you that you went too far, or mentioned something too soon. I don’t believe there is such thing as too far or too soon, not to sound like a heartless sociopath, or anything of the sort, but I feel there is always something to be laughed about. I do believe that that phrase is true, that laughter is, in fact, the best medicine there is, but there seems to always be someone who will tell you otherwise.
I have never been one to get offended by jokes easily, especially if they’re not made about me, personally, but I am human, so I have been offended before, it’s no surprise. But, when I do get offended, I don’t begin to flog the offender and shame them and everything they believe in, but instead, I keep it to myself, and I move on with my life. It is a bit of a shame to me that we can’t all just have a little more fun in life, and remind ourselves that we don’t need to take everything so seriously. I’ve always felt this way, but watching that video of Jack Carroll made me truly solidify my belief in the silly and the humorous, and not all of the earnesty and the solemnity of life.
Many of my favorite comedians tend to make unbelievably inappropriate, dark, terrible jokes, and I find them absolutely hilarious, even if it hits home for me and can somehow manage to relate to me and/or any situation i may be a part of. The way I see it, either everything should be joked about, or nothing should be joked about. There are either boundaries on everything or no boundaries at all. Saying certain things are free to be made fun of but others aren’t is an unfair and unjust method of censorship that only exists for the sake of the censor’s gratification. If we can’t laugh at our darkest, lowest moments, what justification do we have to laugh at our highest?
One of my favorite comedians, Anthony Jeselnik, is known for being extremely offensive and for saying the most unbelievable misogynistic, racist and darkest things one could imagine and I happen to find him hilarious, not because I think the Holocaust is such a funny topic or because I think that women are subservient to men or anything as outrageous as those things, but just because I get such a good laugh out of them that spurs from the pure absurdity and audacity that comes along with these jokes.
So, yes, I still agree with you all: 9/11 was a tragedy, and the Rowandan massacre was an incident I hope never repeats, and the slurs used by American troops during the Vietnam war were objectively horrendous, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t and can’t be funny. So, people, just don’t get your panties in a bunch.