Comedy is a serious business and in the age of social media not a single punchline goes unnoticed, especially the offensive ones. Although some might advocate that those are ‘just for laughs’, can we overlook when the comedians cross the thin line? Time and again, jokes have been at the expense of marginalised communities or the comedians themselves have been accused of misconduct, but they have got a pass after a mere apology.
Here are the comedians who have been really problematic yet they were provided a platform by OTT giants:
1. Kapil Sharma
The host of one of the most popular comedy shows in India recently landed a Netflix stand-up special, I Am Not Done Yet. Anyone who has ever come across an episode of his show, The Kapil Sharma Show, must be aware of its major elements. The comedian usually indulges in sexist remarks, body-shaming, transphobia, and homophobia.
Misogynist jokes, fat shaming, body shaming, BEAUTY standards- All not so funny things are available in the name of Kapil Sharma Show. The dangerous part is people along with their families watch that show & laugh. It’s beyond being problematic.— Jyoti J. (@JyotiBaneJwala) August 15, 2021
2. Dave Chappelle
Chappelle’s special drew intense criticism from the LGBTQ+ community and what followed was a walkout of hundreds of Netflix employees. “Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth,” he said in his stand-up. He allegedly made several seemingly derogatory comments on transgendered individuals.
3. Sarah Silverman
From her ‘blackface’ controversy in 2008 to making a problematic tweet on child molestation, the list of controversies of Silverman is long. Still the comedian landed a stand-up show with Netflix in 2020.
4. Russell Peters
In 2017, Russell Peters, who has often be accused of making racists jokes, strangely thought a rape joke was the best way to begin a show. After scanning the room, where there were many young women present, Peter commented that it was a “felony waiting to happen.” Although the act was called out and apologies were made, that didn’t stop Amazon from providing the comedian a platform for his show Deported.
5. Louis C.K
The comedian was one the first personalities in Hollywood whose sexual misconducts came to light during the #MeToo movement. In fact, he admitted to several accounts in the 2010s. However, those revelations played no hindrance in his path back to comedy clubs. On the contrary, he joked about his infamy in his special Sincerely Louis C.K.
6. Aziz Ansari
The Master of None actor was accused of sexual misconduct by a 23-year-old Brooklyn, New York, woman who alleged that he pressured her during a sexual encounter in 2017. The very next year, Ansari had a new Netflix special where he opened the act by talking about the incident.
7. Tracy Morgan
The 30 Rock actor was in hot water for making some utterly offensive homophobic remarks during a show in Nashville. One of the attendees claimed that the comedian said he’d “pull out a knife and stab” his son if he were gay.
Controversies are almost impossible to dodge when it comes to comedy but even comedians need to be aware of how far is too far.