With the masses finally being able to witness the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber tonight, those who worked the event, were in the audience, or were on the dais of said show, experienced everything including that which will hit the cutting room floor. And that includes jokes that may have gone too far. But what is too far? That’s the age old question with comedy. Comedians Jeff Ross and Pete Davidson both delivered jokes about Paul Walker and Ludacris didn’t take kindly to them as Paul was a dear friend and co-star. Our society edges ever closer to a political correctness, yet at the same time, it allows and accepts more extremes through language, subject matter, and open ended and unfiltered access via the internet, tv, film, and art. These Roasts are a part of the latter for sure, almost used as a marker to determined where the line is by crossing it. But what happens when something becomes “personal”. It seems we all want the ability to have access to everything as well as the ability to exercise our rights, but at the same time control what is offensive, acceptable, and what should and shouldn’t be allowed based on our own personal experiences and opinions towards any said subject matter.
This is the environment a comedian works in everyday. It appears Comedy Central will be leaving out all Paul Walker jokes from the broadcast. So, what makes something truly offensive? Is it personal experience? Why do we laugh at one joke yet not at another? Stand-up comedy is the final platform some would say where you can truly speak freely in thought, truth, and honesty without repercussion. Unfortunately that isn’t completely true. Not if too many people become offended. Even if they didn’t hear about it until it gets picked up and spread via the media. What’s “off limits”? Can humor be found in death, religion, politics, race, or even something as horrible as rape? When is too soon too soon? And when did tagging a joke “too soon” become a means to tell a joke too soon. And if George Carlin has taught us anything, it’s that our basic freedoms, including speech, are the most valuable of things on this earth, even if you disagree with what someone has to say.
Recently Ralphie May was stopped at an airport by TMZ and asked how he felt about Ludacris and the Paul Walker jokes.
So, ask yourself this. How bad do you now want to see the Paul Walker jokes that were cut? And is that because you want to see if they are offensive or not? Funny or not? Or because you just don’t like being told what you can and can’t see?