I am usually a fan of The Onion. I often find the Onion’s humor intelligent, relevant, and not too offensive towards any particular group. But in Tom Coogan’s article, I strongly agree with the protestors of the Onion’s article called, “Study: Depression Hits Losers Hardest.”
Comedians can often get away with being insensitive, and I actually don’t think of myself as someone who gets offended too easily at jokes, but dedicating an entire article to bashing people with mental illnesses and calling them, “total fucking losers,” is taking this idea of satire way too far in my opinion. Depression/anxiety is extremely common and I am sure everyone in our class has experienced the effects of the illness in a direct or indirect way. I can personally say that I don’t consider this article funny, nor do I consider it a joke at all. It is insulting and hurtful to anyone struggling with any type of depression/anxiety which takes up a massive portion of our population.
To play Devil’s Advocate:
I don’t see a lot of purpose in discussing what is funny and what is not funny because any joke is going to make one person laugh and another person cry depending on their background, religion, sexuality, political stance, and culture. For instance, I might find a joke about a conservative politician (I.E. Mike Pence) funny because I am not conservative, but the same joke might be seen as extremely offensive to someone who is right-winged. I think it would be really difficult to find a comedian that doesn’t offend any group of people because a lot of the time, that is what comedy has to do with; Making a joke out of something or someone that may not be primarily seen as funny.
When it comes to comedy, what I find funny is very specific to me and my personal life. I think that is part of the beauty of comedy and what makes laughter such a unique phenomenon. The varying punchlines of comedy have always been controversial, and always will be. I think that is actually one of the key parts of comedy. Of course there is a line we can draw, as Frankie said in his post, and we can agree on that line in class. (the line being what is seen as ok, and what is seen as not ok in comedy) For example, tomorrow in class we will most likely agree that it is not funny to be this crass about people who mentally struggle with depression.
But, there is no way for everyone in the media to agree on a line that we cannot cross in comedy.
(I’m sorry if my words seem jumbled/unorganized. It took me a while to attempt to get these thoughts typed out. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way!)