If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? Apparently nobody, if the case of an Indian-American comedian recently yanked off the stage in mid-performance by the Columbia University Asian-American Alliance is any indication. The reason: telling politically incorrect jokes.
As comedian and “Saturday Night Live” writer Nimesh Patel performed at the group’s terribly named “CultureShock: Reclaim” event, he was told by organizers his night was over because his material was homophobic and racist.
But was it really? Here’s an example: “Being gay cannot be a choice because no one looks in a mirror and thinks, this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.”
How stupid do you have to be to not realize this is irony, a pro-gay and black joke? How insulated must one be not to realize that millions of Americans still think being gay is a choice, that you aren’t born that way? That was clearly Patel’s point, but these guardians of purity somehow miss the difference between racist jokes and supportive ones.
These Patel bashers are the same type of humorless scolds who drove the likable cartoon character Apu, owner of “The Simpsons” Kwik-E-Mart and the most popular Hindu-Bengali character in TV history, off the air earlier this year.
Apu’s critics complained that he was a stereotype with an accent. No kidding. It’s satire! Every character on the Simpsons is a stereotype. Police chief Wiggum is a corrupt, doughnut-stuffing fool; Krusty the Clown is Jewish, boorish and with multiple addictions; while white, Christian Homer Simpson is a fat, lazy moron. Yet we care about them all.
Simpsons creator Matt Groening told The Guardian, “I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”
And it’s not solely the self-righteous left that’s guilty of this. Not sure? Turn on Fox News this month, and watch its annual wail about how no one is allowed to say merry Christmas anymore. Seriously? Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Festivus!
Meanwhile, Patel told his audience that he meant no harm, and that his aim was simply to expose people to real-world ideas. In response, his mike was cut off.
Free speech? Real world? Not in our safe space!
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.