In Defense of Chelsea Handler

I am sure Chelsea Handler does not need me to defend her, nor will she even know that I did. I mean she might if she Googles her name, ChicagoNow, my name, and the name of my blog. It is highly doubtful because I am the only narcissist who Googles himself. There are other Patrick O'Haras who are way more famous than me much to my chagrin. I think you can find me on page 20ish of Google. Yeah 20ish is an official number.

This is a defense of comedy moreover. Sometimes comedy is attacked. It is called racist, sexist, homophobic amongst other things. Comedians are given a pretty powerful weapon. Most times we kill in a good way like making a room of people laugh. In fact, I do not believe most comedians are hateful. A bit of satire never harmed anyone.

Chelsea Handler took over Huffington Post's Twitter account the night of the Academy Awards. A night of stuffy actors and actresses stuffying up an already stuffy'd up Los Angeles.

Here are a couple of examples of the supposed offensive Tweets.

“Congratulations #12yearsaslave Go to Africa or buy #ugandabekiddingme #aheadofthecurve #Oscars.”


“#AngelinaJolie just filed adoption papers #lupitanyongo #Oscars"

First of all, part of the reason she was Tweeting was to promote her new book Uganda Be Kidding Me. Second, if this is the first time anyone has made fun of Angelina Jolie and her adoption habits then we have not been paying attention. Was it tasteless? As a comedian I try not to pass judgement onto someone else's art. I have seen many tasteless jokes get long periods of laughter.

Jokes are made every day about every race, creed, gender, or sexual preference. If it pisses you off that only one race is being offended then you are not championing the cause of racism. You have to widen your view beyond tunnel vision. It is my belief that intent and hatred are the fuel of racism. In my opinion therein lies the difference.

Personally if I believe a joke I am conjuring might offend a certain group I will consult a member of that group. If they cannot give a straight yes or no or if there answer leaves me questioning it then I decide not to tell that joke.

There aren't many people who are innocent of making fun of someone. It does not make it okay but we are all guilty of it. I poke fun at myself and others on stage and not on stage. If I want to make fun of you I will find my own reasons.

It is so easy to find reason to be angry but why not find reasons to laugh. Letting a joke regarding race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation make you laugh does not make you racist or sexist. It makes you someone who takes things lightly which is the best way to overcome. There are so many atrocities happening in the world to make you angry. There is real racism afoot, a comedian having fun is different than Thomas Rice's depiction of Jim Crow.

Another silly comment is "too soon", which is to suggest there is a time we are supposed to wait until a tragedy is funny. Pray tell, when is a joke about someone's loved one who has passed away funny? The relatives of that loved one would probably argue it will never be funny. "Too soon" in and of itself makes zero sense but it is a rule we break constantly. After 9/11 happened, people asked when is it okay to laugh? It became okay to laugh when the first joke was told about something relating to 9/11. However the joke may never be funny to anyone personally affected by that tragic day. By personally affected I mean someone who lost someone that day and the days after.

There is no such thing as too soon but that does not mean we cannot laugh at tragedy. Tragedy is born or comedy. It is yin and yang. You need one to appreciate the other. So let yourself laugh at tragedy, it can heal.

Comedy is supposed to be fun, it points the finger at society, and it points the finger at itself. Do I think Chelsea Handler was being raciist? No, in fact I think that very notion is ridiculous. I think she was pushing her book. The media she has been receiving about her Tweets certainly has gone a long way to that end.

I mean if we cannot make fun of each other then Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks died in in vane. Oh, I am sorry was that too soon?

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