Edited By Al Bahmani
I had to take a moment to point out this bit of irony.
The person who is offended by those who take offense to their offensive “jokes”.
Far too often people take the Freedom of Speech argument as it pertains to comedy well out of its intended context, I don’t think the authors of the UDHR wanted this right to be an affirmative defense to flagrant insults against humanity. For example, If someone tells you to “make yourself at home” they don’t expect you to walk around naked and spank their kids. I have said some pretty ratchet things on stage, but these things are within the context of a 45-60 minute set and in front of a controlled environment of people who are exposed to a balanced quantity of material. However, my getting pissed at opinion that is critical of my content is contradictory to the very platform that I that I stand on as a comedian. Hopefully that makes sense.
In my humble opinion Social Media is only a comedy outlet when the joke works. If it doesn’t work then it’s a court of public opinion that harshly judges the would-be or established comedian based on a failed attempt at trying to get attention. Sometimes the pursuit of shine is not worth the risk, especially at the expense of tragedy. Personally, that’s where I draw the line.
When we think Freedom of Speech we should also think about how other freedoms, when taken out of context, can prove detrimental. Freedom of Religion does not mean you can go out and kill based on your beliefs. Freedom from Want doesn’t protect you if you steal just because you can’t find a job. Freedom from Fear is not contradictory to our right to bear arms, just as Freedom of Expression does not hold anyone exempt from scrutiny if they formulate sentences that are grossly void of respect to the human condition. Even if it’s funny.
Again, I’m no prude and I do try to post responsibly, but if I say something offensive I will not be offended by people who take offense, because according to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… I can’t have it both ways.
Billy D. Washington is a former Harris County Deputy Constable in Harris County, Texas (Houston) turned international touring headliner. He’s been seen on “Last Comic Standing” and “The Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and the movie “Arlington Road”. He is also an accomplished musician and playwright.