The Nose: When Jokes Go Bad & An Interview With John Hawkes

When is a bad joke a reeeeeeeally bad joke?

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The Nose: When Jokes Go Bad & An Interview With John Hawkes
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The Nose: When Jokes Go Bad & An Interview With John Hawkes

 

We're doing something a little unusual on The Nose today. We're spending pretty much the whole show on one topic -- transgressive humor.
 
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and the subject came to a boil last weekend when Seth MacFarlane, who specializes in tasteless and sophomoric material, hosted the Oscars and gave the international audience a heaping dose of what he's known for. 
 
At the same time, the comedy site the Onion was posting a tweet so tasteless that its CEO issued, for the first time ever, an apology. And the Onion specializes in, as they say, "going there." 
 
So what are the rules?
 
They turn out to be hard to define. The standards, of course, change. "The Producers" in 1968 was regarded by many as beyond the pale. Now it's pretty mainstream. 

When does a joke go too far? Listen to our show and leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.


  

Comments

EMAIL FROM DAVID:

Best part was Jennifer Lawrence cheering when they said they HADN’T seen HER boobs. Best part of a bit that really wasn’t very funny.

EMAIL FROM KATE:

Hi Colin,

It's one thing if you pay to go to a comedy club . . .
you know pretty much what you are going to get . . .

But The Oscars? Why did they choose SMc.
They knew who they were getting.

SMc making some kind of an adolescent a meta-point
about "boobs" while the actors (women) are sitting there?

I agree with the guest who made the point that
there was just way too much SMc being oafishly cute.

Bring back Amy and Tina (or Whoopie, or Dave, or Billy)!

my ha'penny,
Kate

p.s.
Any subject can be this or that-ed into meaninglessness . . .

EMAIL FROM TOM:

I turned on the oscars.
Two minutes later this strange looking guy made a bad joke about
President Lincoln's ASSASSINATION.
I turned off the TV and went on to better things.

Pop culture is increasingly about DIS-RESPECTING other people and the
high ideals we should live by.

This country has a problem with its culture. Period.

EMAIL FROM BILL:

Don't you think that most non professional gutter humor is actually about degrading a race or gender. Mostly to contrast and opposing ideology and advertise superiority.

EMAIL FROM KATHERINE:

The reason we shouldn't make jokes at the expense of children is not that we sentimentalize them. It's because they aren't adults. They aren't capable of defending themselves against offensive humor made at their expense the way adults are, and for that reason we should protect them.

EMAIL FROM ANNE:

Hi Colin. Great show. I laughed at the song and thought it poked fun at our Puritanical culture that gets so exorcised by seeing breasts! Also wanted them to start singing " we saw your butt" to all the men actors in the audience.

EMAIL FROM LESLIE:

Speaking of Andrew Dice Clay, his whole career fell apart when he apologized for his jokes that offended. When he revealed he wasn't really "mean" it was a shtick he lost his audience. (not me of course) I think a lot of young comedians are informed by his example.