New Trailer for Can We Take a Joke?

 

Ricochet contributor Greg Lukianoff has written about the upcoming film concerning the humorless outrage brigades threatening comedy and free speech itself. Now, after appearing at several festivals, the first trailer for Can We Take a Joke? is out, promoting a July 29 release. The movie stars comedians Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald, Adam Carolla, and Karith Foster, all of whom are pushing back on safe-space enthusiasts and the easily offended.

Comedians have always been the canaries in the coalmine of free speech laws. If a person can be silenced over a joke, the rest of us have no chance of freely speaking our minds. I became painfully aware of this fact when I infiltrated a social justice comedy seminar at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Detroit.

“Comedy creates oneness and that is what our side wants,” according to Julianna Forlano, host of a news parody without laughter cues called “Absurdity Today.” She noted how her stand-up performance even created “oneness” at a Pennsylvania Elks Lodge, despite the crowd being filled with racist men (she could tell they were racist from the animal heads displayed on the walls).

Katie Halper agreed with her fellow white comic that racism is endemic in their industry. “When the right says we have no sense of humor, it’s a great way for racist/sexist/homophobic men to make themselves seem funny.” Halper is a founding principal of Qualified Laughter, a production company “dedicated to comedic social justice media.”

Halper expressed concern that far too many comedians cross the line with offensive jokes. She listed several types of jokes that no one should tell; anything involving a “disenfranchised population” is off-limits.

Elon James White, creator of the web series “This Week in Blackness,” grudgingly admitted the obvious: “There is a segment of the left that is humorless.” He then lambasted African-American SNL writer Leslie Jones for telling jokes that invoked slavery.

Forlano agreed it is important not to tell jokes that reference ugly historical crimes, sexism or racism. “Sure, it might get a laugh — if that’s what you want.”

I’ve never understood why people get offended by, well, anything, let alone a joke. Even if someone attempts an insult, it’s up to you to choose whether or not to accept it as such. You cannot be offended without your consent.

When a thin-skinned audience member shouts “I’m offended!” at a stand-up comic, it only reveals the heckler’s fragile psyche and low self-worth. Perhaps I’m an outlier, but if someone tries to insult me, I don’t feel badly about myself — I just conclude that they’re an idiot. If an unfunny comedian tries to bash me for being a conservative/white/cis-male/Christian/etc., that’s their problem, not mine.

Regardless, it’s time for all grown-ups to realize that a joke is just that — a joke. Hopefully this film will carry this message far and wide.

There are 23 comments.

  1. David Deeble Member

    Corporate culture ranks right up there with college campuses in terms of cordoning off huge swaths of topics – topics! – deemed off-limits. The two entities deserve each other.

    • #1
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:31 PM PDT
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  2. Chris Campion Coolidge

    One of the reasons Carolla embraced the podcast concept early on is that there were essentially no limits on what he could say. No corporate oversight, no politically correct management team, no nothing – just him, his crew, and his listeners, and it turns out that there’s no shortage of advertisers willing to pay to be on a podcast with millions of downloads, no matter what he says.

    But yeah, there are people who will hoot down or complain about a comedian’s act. Apparently it’s not enough to not go, or to leave if you’re offended. You must, like Winston Smith, make sure the offender becomes convinced of their own guilt.

    Before you kill them.

    • #2
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:35 PM PDT
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  3. GrannyDude Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I became painfully aware of this fact when I infiltrated a social justice comedy seminar at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Detroit.

    Oh my. Ohhhh my.

    I can’t wait for this movie. Thank you Jon.

    • #3
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:36 PM PDT
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  4. kelsurprise, drama queen Member

    I love Adam Carolla.

    Though I do wish sometimes he didn’t have quite so filthy a mouth. It tends to limit how much material of his I can forward to my parents.

    • #4
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:41 PM PDT
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  5. Mate De Inactive

    Gilbert Gottfries is hilarious, that last joke was great. Looking forward to this movie thanks for sharing

    • #5
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:45 PM PDT
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  6. Chris Campion Coolidge

    kelsurprise:I love Adam Carolla.

    Though I do wish sometimes he didn’t have quite so filthy a mouth. It tends to limit how much material of his I can forward to my parents.

    Never thought I’d like his stuff until I started listening to a couple of podcasts a few years ago. Now I catch probably 90% of them, unless I start falling behind.

    • #6
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:46 PM PDT
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  7. Casey Inactive

    David Deeble:Corporate culture ranks right up there with college campuses in terms of cordoning off huge swaths of topics – topics! – deemed off-limits. The two entities deserve each other.

    Really just one entity I think. You pay to get in and earn the right to get your money back very slowly over a long period of time.

    • #7
    • June 6, 2016, at 6:55 PM PDT
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  8. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    Looks like a potential hate crime, has the Justice Department been alerted?

    • #8
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:00 PM PDT
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  9. Lazy_Millennial Member

    On a semi-related note, when Milo Yiannopoulos says that those on the alt-right only make antisemitic and Holocaust jokes “for the lulz,” he’s not wrong. Many do only do it for the lulz; aka to shock, to “troll”, to get any reaction, to laugh at dark humor, etc.

    But watch them carefully, because some mean it. And this is also how antisemitism gets normalized.

    • #9
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:39 PM PDT
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  10. Hammer, The Member

    did I misunderstand, or were they showing colbert and stewart as examples of … offensive speech?

    meh, I guess I’m all for free speech, but I have a hard time believing that any film like this won’t still go out of its way to prove its liberal bona fides.

    • #10
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:41 PM PDT
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  11. Dick from Brooklyn Thatcher

    Mate De:Gilbert Gottfries is hilarious, that last joke was great. Looking forward to this movie thanks for sharing

    Hey De and KelSurprise… Do I hear a Ricochet NYC meetup at the movies brewing?

    • #11
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:45 PM PDT
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  12. kelsurprise, drama queen Member

    Excellent idea!

    • #12
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:47 PM PDT
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  13. Aaron Miller Member

    Gottfried’s a funny guy, though best taken in small doses. I look forward to this documentary even if I’m not the intended audience.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Comedians have always been the canaries in the coalmine of free speech laws.

    Comedians have generally been libertines who love to push boundaries regardless of the merits. They pursue vulgarity and abusive schadenfreude, not freedom to comment intelligently and considerately on politics, religion, or any other controversial topics.

    They should have that God-given freedom to be vulgar and malicious hippies. But I’m not sure the defense of such directly translates into political freedom. After all, most progressive artists demanding these liberties to be ugly and sacrilegious also publicly support the silencing of traditionalists.

    When they say disturbing things, it’s liberty that should be celebrated. When we say disturbing things, it’s hate speech that must be eliminated. With exceptions, comedians do us no favors.

    • #13
    • June 6, 2016, at 7:48 PM PDT
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  14. Mate De Inactive

    Dick from Brooklyn:

    Mate De:Gilbert Gottfries is hilarious, that last joke was great. Looking forward to this movie thanks for sharing

    Hey De and KelSurprise… Do I hear a Ricochet NYC meetup at the movies brewing?

    Sounds like fun

    • #14
    • June 6, 2016, at 9:25 PM PDT
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  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    I find this topic offensive, please delete this post / comment thread.

    • #15
    • June 6, 2016, at 10:00 PM PDT
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  16. Hammer, The Member

    Aaron Miller:Gottfried’s a funny guy, though best taken in small doses. I look forward to this documentary even if I’m not the intended audience.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Comedians have always been the canaries in the coalmine of free speech laws.

    Comedians have generally been libertines who love to push boundaries regardless of the merits. They pursue vulgarity and abusive schadenfreude, not freedom to comment intelligently and considerately on politics, religion, or any other controversial topics.

    They should have that God-given freedom to be vulgar and malicious hippies. But I’m not sure the defense of such directly translates into political freedom. After all, most progressive artists demanding these liberties to be ugly and sacrilegious also publicly support the silencing of traditionalists.

    When they say disturbing things, it’s liberty that should be celebrated. When we say disturbing things, it’s hate speech that must be eliminated. With exceptions, comedians do us no favors.

    Exactly. Very well stated!

    • #16
    • June 6, 2016, at 10:14 PM PDT
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  17. Percival Thatcher

    Fake John/Jane Galt:I find this topic offensive, please delete this post / comment thread.

    That’s not sick; it’s funny.

    • #17
    • June 6, 2016, at 11:16 PM PDT
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  18. Adriana Harris Member

    Thanks, Jon, for the heads up. I’ll be looking forward to this film. I enjoy Adam Carolla’s style of humor and listen to his podcast daily. He regularly pushes back against the humorless and easily offended. It will be refreshing to see a large group of comedians stand up against this ridiculous trend.

    • #18
    • June 7, 2016, at 4:52 AM PDT
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  19. Old Bathos Member

    I will watch to film to see if it feels more like a Weimar-like irreverent last gasp against the coming tide or a revolutionary pushback.

    The modern problem with the New Fascism is not analogous to a Dirty Dancing-like caricature of religious sensibilities being foisted on the unwilling contra the spirit and letter of the First Amendment. The economic and political survival of church-goers does not depend on the outcome of such conflicts.

    In contrast, a growing mass of mediocre, badly formed, miseducated people now have a vested interest in a society constructed according to political purity and loyalty rather than merit. If you truly love Big Brother you must not only resent the incorrect joke, you must also sacrifice the ability to get the joke.

    • #19
    • June 7, 2016, at 6:43 AM PDT
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  20. Franco Member

    I can’t wait. Especially if there are jokes embedded!

    I’m a big fan of Carolla’s podcast and of comedians in general. There is something to the idea that comedy can bring togetherness.

    Notice that much of comedy is making fun of yourself or your ‘group’ as it is perceived, whether it’s race or ethnicity or height, weight, even ideology (Yakov Smirnov is still making bank in Branson). This is exponentially endearing because it acknowledges a trope, or some common belief, embraces it, and yet dismisses it as absurd. The Gilbert Gottfried joke at the end is a demonstration of that.

    Taboos and cultural pretensions have always been easy pickings for comedians. At this point we have so many and they are so absurd, that comedians are flocking to this fertile territory and the SJW are threatened. As said in the OP, they don’t want ‘togetherness’ it ruins everything for them.

    • #20
    • June 7, 2016, at 6:52 AM PDT
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  21. Aaron Miller Member

    Franco: Notice that much of comedy is making fun of yourself or your ‘group’ as it is perceived, whether it’s race or ethnicity or height, weight, even ideology (Yakov Smirnov is still making bank in Branson).

    This is true of conservative/libertarian comics, not of leftist comics. The latter usually mock other people.

    Self-deprecating humor is often funnier, but even mockery can be light-hearted and considerate. Too much is not.

    Every generation has light-hearted comics — Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Bill Cosby, Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, Kelsey Grammer; people who can poke fun at groups and customs without being unnecessarily crude or spiteful. These comics invite all people to laugh at their own foibles without cruelty.

    But among progressive comedians I see two trends. One is the aforementioned vulgarians who love to insult everyone and everything but themselves. The other group includes comedians who believe their jokes are funny when told by them and hateful when told by their ideological opponents. An example of this is Chris Rock’s funny routine about two varieties within America’s black culture. When whites enjoyed and shared the routine, Rock objected and called them racists.

    • #21
    • June 7, 2016, at 7:27 AM PDT
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  22. Franco Member

    Aaron Miller:This is true of conservative/libertarian comics, not of leftist comics. The latter usually mock other people.

    Self-deprecating humor is often funnier, but even mockery can be light-hearted and considerate. Too much is not.

    Well, we have to allow it all.

    I strongly disagree with your first comment, but haven’t yet decided to take it on.

    Yes there are leftist comedians I deplore, however, funny is funny.

    I hated how Wanda Sykes attacked Bush at one of the Washington Press Correspondents dinners – it’s especially annoying when leftist memes are advanced in a comedy routine – but thoroughly enjoyed her performance in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s episode “Racist Dog”.

    • #22
    • June 7, 2016, at 7:42 AM PDT
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  23. Franco Member

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5sdnYxOjGQ

    • #23
    • June 7, 2016, at 7:49 AM PDT
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