The problems that come from civilians retelling jokes

At 4:26 into this video, Patrice O'Neal defends rape jokes:



When the woman tries to recreate Patrice's angry pirate joke, it occurred to me that a big part of the problem with these "I'm offended" conversations is people who aren't comedians trying to explain/retell what they heard a comic say. The source is usually not an actual tape/recording, it's some blogger or other third party recounting what was said onstage. When a civilian who isn't a comic tells you about a joke they heard and tries to retell it, it's almost never funny. It's a bastardized version.

The problem gets bigger when people wind up judging this bastardized version. I'm offended by this woman telling that angry pirate joke. Because when she tells it, it's an awfully delivered joke.

Imagine if you tried to pick apart another artform this way. Imagine if some layman grabbed a guitar, attempted to play an Eddie Van Halen solo, failed miserably, and then said that proved that Eddie Van Halen is offensive and not musical. We'd all reject that argument as silly. All that proves is that THIS dude doesn't know how to play guitar. When people who don't know how to play an instrument try to play it, it sounds offensive.

Similarly, judging a comedian based off what an audience member says that comic said is a silly way to get to the truth of the situation.

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1 Comment(s)

Anonymous Selena said...

Great example with the Van Halen comparison, Matt.

8/23/12, 11:01 AM