Let’s Talk: Comedic Sensitivity

I want to start by saying that I am a proud 90’s girl. That era was full of memorable shows, music, fashion and was when we met a lot of our favorite comedians. In a later post, I will go in depth about how much I love the scenes between Reggie and Sherman and Reggie and Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor, but for right now, think about those jokes. Reggie was making horribly funny jokes about Sherman Klump and Eddie Murphy was brilliant in showing the pain on his face as that character. Dave Chapelle as Reggie Warrington made a whole joke about finding where they hid Jimmy Hoffa. He told that main he bleeds chocolate milk. At this point, I’m on the floor crying laughing IN 2020, but these jokes, in this day and sensitivity, wouldn’t really work.

A prime example of just breaking all comedic etiquette, if there is such a thing, was the infamous “In Living Color.” The theme said it all (another theme I love and must listen to every time I watch the show), “You can do what you want to do/ In living color” and live they did. Fire Marshal Bill, Wanda, Men On, Handi Man and THE RICK JAMES SKETCH. Imagine if we had “In Living Color” around now and they did a sketch like the Rick James sketch but it was Bill Cosby? People would riot. If done right, I won’t lie, I would laugh.

Speaking of Reggie Warrington, Dave Chapelle, who played that character, took what “In Living Color” did and sprinted with it. I mean the sketches that Chapelle and Neal Brennan wrote were cringeworthy but it’s the stuff we’d be repeating the next day and still laugh at today…well, most of us still do.

But why is it that I would laugh and some would riot? When was the moment where toeing the edge of the line became taboo? There are plenty of comedians who toe the line of comedy in their sets all day long but we used to be able to do that in network TV shows. Anyone remember the subliminals in children’s shows? I do and never caught them until we started memeing them years later. Roseanne is another prime example. I didn’t watch the show too much when it aired but later in life, after catching a few episodes, you start to wonder how half of the stuff got on TV.

Let’s talk. When do you think the world, or network TV in general, decided that comedy had to be toned down? Personally, and this wasn’t a network show, but “The Chapelle Show” was the last show I can remember that pushed bounds and made people go to work the next day talking about what they say and how out there is was. What was that show for you? Can you remember?

Check me out every Wednesday so we can argue LOL.

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