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comment by thenewgreen
thenewgreen  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Netflix employees walk out to protest Dave Chappelle’s special.

The question as to whether or not a joke is funny matters. It actually matters quite a lot. Comedians are asked all the time about "where the line is?" What is and isn't off limits in comedy. If someone makes a joke about race, gender and even rape, it had better be at the least funny and at best thought provoking. I think intent is also extremely important. If someone's intent is to genuinely cause harm to a person or a group, it's pretty hard to laugh at.

I have enjoyed Chappelles humor for many years. I have watched his talent grow, significantly. I do not think this special was his best work. Actually, as far as his specials go it was the least funny to me. But it's still very funny and very thought provoking at times. The "Beyond Pussy," joke is actually a pretty clever bit. That one actually made me laugh. Maybe because I have many vegan/vegetarian friends and have had conversations about whether or not the impossible burger genuinely tastes like meat. The idea of asking if a post-op vagina actually tastes like a cis vagina is clever and funny. Something I had never thought of and most people wouldn't say. -How is that transphobic? But there were jokes in there that didn't seem funny or thought provoking to me. The idea that trans women are to cis women as blackface is to African Americans wasn't funny to me, but it does provoke thought. But throughout it all, I never got the sense that he was trying to disparage transgender people at all, at least not about them being transgender. I think he clearly has a hard time with the sensitivity he sees from the community in response to his jokes. A sensitivity and collective reaction that he doesn't see in the AA community. A sensitivity that wasn't allowed for in the AA community and I think to his thinking, still isn't.

    if i, a paleface honky tranny, were to get up on stage talking about how i'm on team blue lives matter and that black people should just settle down, it wouldn't matter if i namedropped a black friend and voted for obama or whatever, people would recognize that it's not funny
Well... if it WAS funny I think you would find a lot of black people might actually laugh. If it was thought provoking, black, white etc may laugh. But, do you think that African American employees of Netflix would boycott and picket if Bill Burr did a special and a large theme of it was about how black people need to settle down? I actually don't think they would, especially if it was funny. Chapelle seems to be saying, "get a sense of humor and stop taking jokes so seriously."

    this despite using the suicide of a trans comedian as a shield for his lame-ass bits
The story of Daphne is sad and I would guess very indicative of many transgender people. PTSD from childhood. When listening to that NPR show I referenced, the one thing that stood out to me was how the woman being interviewed said Dave "used" Daphne. She suggested that they weren't even close. Daphne's sister has since said that Dave was a good friend to her and corroborated his story. I found his description of her bombing and then winning over the crowd by heckling him very touching and very funny.

In most comedy there's someone that is the butt of the joke. It has often been jews, blacks, Mexicans, Italians, women, gays and in this special transgender. But what I find interesting is that most of the material focused not on gender etc, but on sensitivity and cover from the community. The example he gives is that a rapper shot someone in a Walmart and didn't go to prison but Kevin Hart made some homophobic jokes back in 2010 and was cancelled. Literally. He was set to host the Oscars and was dropped. Maybe it was deserved, I didn't read the tweets. But it is my opinion that comedy should be allowed to speak for itself. If it's funny, it will live. If it isn't, it will die. There's no hiding. It's a person and microphone. The audience reacts or they don't.

To boycott Neflix for airing a comedy special is fucked up. imo. If every minority group boycotted standup comedy that made fun of their tribe, there'd be very little standup. And that would be a bad thing. Standup has always pushed the boundaries in society. And it could be in 5-10 years Chapelle comes back and says, "Ive changed my thinking on x,y,z."

Below you reference a tweet as the funniest trans joke you've seen. I'll admit that I have zero idea what it means. I'm interested to understand it though.

When he says to the trans community to stop punching down at his people, at the end. I think he's referring to comedians as much as anything. Let them do their job. If it's not funny, don't listen. Don't buy a ticket. If nobody watched his specials on Netflix, it would be a hell of a lot more powerful than picketing.

Quatrarius  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·  

charli xcx is a pop star that makes electro-dance-pop music. that kind of music, and her, is popular with a lot of trans women

the joke is from the perspective of a guy outside a women's bathroom at a charli xcx concert "waiting for a woman who seems generally unwell" - AKA a guy trying to hit on trans women, light jab at the fact that trans women selfstereotype as dorks / basement dwellers

the guy's pickup line is just a silly nonsequitur about burt's bees brand chapstick. "you on spiro?" is him asking if she's on spironolactone, which is an anti-androgen and one of the most common hormones that trans women take in north america

i know that explaining it kills any humor in it, but it's a really funny joke to me because it's a situation i can easily imagine getting in, one that makes fun of the trans experience, but not necessarily trans people themselves (despite poking fun at the fact that the guy is looking for shabby-looking women to, essentially, ask them if they're trans). it doesn't play into the narrative of trans women as fucked up or fake women. it's just a beautiful little joke.

thenewgreen  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you for the description. You're right, describing it helps me to understand it, but totally kills any humor. That joke may be funny for a very small subset of an audience and would tank in a general audience.

For years people have made jokes about so many types of people. And so long as it wasn't in hatred, if it's actually funny it works. I think to a general audience, many of the jokes in this special are funny. Some aren't. But the ones I don't find funny, someone else may. That's the thing. It's comedy. Why is it being taken so seriously? I can't speak for others, but I have watched all his specials and I have not been swayed negatively about transgender people. I have mad respect for what transgender people have to go through to realize their true self manifest. His specials have made me consider that some in the transgender community take his jokes too seriously. But I have never had the sense that he's trying to get me to not respect transgender people or their struggle.

As for picketing Netflix employees etc. HELL YES! that is 100% their prerogative and legal right. And I would fight vigorously to defend it. But I'd be the guy saying, "Hey Q, they were jokes."

Quatrarius  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  x 2

i think that jokes about a discriminated minority should primarily be funny to that minority more than any general audience. i think that jokes about a discriminated minority that are designed to be funny to a general audience, but not to that minority, are not jokes that work.

trans people take these jokes seriously because they aren't funny to trans people. it's hard to not take something seriously when it's not funny to you. i want to repeat that i'm not insulted by the jokes in the special, they just make me sad. i think that these kinds of jokes don't help the community and just add onto the pile of cultural messaging against trans people. i think that this is the new battlefield of the culture war, and that trans people who react negatively to this special will continue to become targets. when you say "why is it being taken so seriously," this is why. comedy doesn't just float in the air - comedy is powerful. comedy can be used to reinforce certain attitudes, or undermine them. comedy and politics are connected to each other. you can be a carlin-type of comedian and use comedy to show how society is rigged for the powerful, or you can be the kind of comedian that uses comedy to reinforce existing stereotypes. i do not feel liberated by chappelle's humor about trans people. i do not welcome his takes on trans people. again, if i was to get up on stage and postulate about The Black Experience In America, i would fully expect to be reamed for it because i don't know what i'm talking about. when i hear dave's jokes about trans people, it is very clear that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

i don't want to censor comedy. i don't want to "cancel" anybody. it's very clear that the trans community at large is unable to cancel anybody, given that chappelle and ricky gervais and the like all still have careers. they can continue to make hacky jokes at my expense for as long as they want to for all i care. i just don't see why i have to pretend that it's all in good fun, and to lighten up - it's the standup comedian version of "boys will be boys" - he snapped your bra strap in front of your friends, but it's because he likes you, so just let him do it - it was just a joke

i will never be a model minority that puts up with being mocked, no matter whether you think that makes me a killjoy.

thenewgreen  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know what would be really interesting? If we could watch the special together. Honestly. I’m going to rewatch it and try to do so with what you’ve written above in mind.


Quatrarius  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·  

there is no way of knowing somebody's intent. i don't think it's dave's conscious intent to make something harmful, but i also think that even if his intent was to increase hate, that it wouldn't matter. actions matter, not thoughts. i think that the rhetoric in his special contributes to an environment that negatively affects the real experiences of trans people, in addition to not being funny. it fails in terms of social commentary and comedy.

i do think that if bill burr did a special as tone-deaf on race as chappelle has been with trans issues, that black netflix employees would have the same reaction as trans ones (including black trans ones) have had to this special. the issue here, again, is that chappelle's special isn't funny, and is using "it's just jokes" as an excuse for lazy commentary. i don't think bill burr would ever get into that kind of situation with race because bill burr seems to have a good understanding of race.

people boycotting netflix is not listening. it is "not buying a ticket". netflix gives chappelle a lot of money for these recorded specials, and there's no way to just not attend the performance. it's coming out of the money netflix gets for subscriptions. why police the way that people protest in the name of the abstract principles of standup? comedy being under attack by the PC police has been a tool of the conservative right for decades, and it remains true that it's more likely that celebrities will face greater financial issues from alienating mainstream society than by pissing off minority groups. kevin hart is still a millionaire. the dixie chicks tanked their career.

it's just so hacky, man. anybody can make an "i identify as an attack helicopter - i'm asiangender!" joke. when chappelle talks about postop pussy, he's laughing at trans people, not with them. he's punching down.


same joke, told funnier, on a crunchy ass ifunny meme from 2019 that's a repost off of twitter

thenewgreen  ·  1006 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    same joke, told funnier, on a crunchy ass ifunny meme from 2019 that's a repost off of twitter
It's not the same joke. Dave's joke is much funnier. But that's the thing, this is all very subjective. Humor is subjective. Again, I think it's his least funny special. But its still much funnier than most imo.

I have to get to bed now. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this. Truly. Onward!