Comedy often pushes the limits to force society to examine its assumptions

Cassandra Cullen, Staff Writer

Google defines comedy as “professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh.” Comedy has always taken a serious subject and turned it into something people could laugh at.

The job of a comedian is to make you forget about your struggles and hardships and make you feel good. Smiling and laughing make people feel good, which is why comedy has always been a big part of our culture.  

George Carlin was one of the most influential comedians out there. His comedy caused a Supreme Court case for his use of words that were not allowed during a time where stand up sets were still considered clean. His routine “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” helped set the adult time hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

On Jerry Seinfeld’s show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” comedian Steve Harvey stated in an episode “no matter what joke I tell, it could offend someone … sometimes you have to sacrifice one for the many.” 

Some of the most controversial comedians are the funniest because they aren’t afraid to talk about sensitive subjects. During a “New York Times” interview, Larry David, creator and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, said that if it can be funny, no subject is off limits.

Sarah Silverman made a 9/11 joke during her “Jesus is Magic” comedy show stating that it was the worst day of her life because she learned her soy chai latte was “like, 900 calories.”

Saturday Night Live pokes fun at political and celebrity headlines to relieve some of the hatred towards the subjects. The Dana Carvey show didn’t even last one season, but that was a show that really pushed the boundaries of what comedy could and couldn’t talk about.

Unfortunately, due to the backlash they get, comedians are now starting (or finishing) their sets letting the audience know since they are jokes, they obviously don’t mean them off the stage, it’s just their job as a comedian. 

Even though comedians should be allowed to say whatever they feel is funny on the stage and in a comedic capacity, they should be held accountable for the things they say and do off the stage in their daily life.

Louis CK, who had his own show, was accused recently for masturbating in front of female comedians. Bill Cosby, who was beloved in his golden age, went to jail for drugging and raping women.

People deserve to be offended by these because they are serious offenses, but if other comedians were to make jokes about these things, they should be able to because they are trying to make light of a terrible incident. 

Everyone has a different sense of humor, but if people don’t agree with a comedian or their jokes, which will happen, it shouldn’t call for a public outcry because then you are essentially degrading their career of making people laugh.

Honestly though, if you don’t laugh about it, you’re probably going to cry, and wouldn’t you rather laugh about it?