By now you've undoubtedly heard about the trio of gruesome cannibal-esque attacks -- one of which resulted in death -- that have dominated news headlines for the last week. But as a matter of convenience, let's review.
On or around May 24, 29-year-old former porn star Luka Rocco Magnotta allegedly murdered Jun Lin, 33. Magnotta is alleged to have repeatedly stabbed his victim with an ice pick and proceeded to hack apart Lin's corpse, performing sexual acts to it and eating pieces of Lin's flesh. A video of the act was posted online, presumably by Magnotta.
On May 26, a Miami police officer shot Rudy Eugene four times after pleading with him to stop eating the face of 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo. Eugene tore off 75 percent of Poppo's face, leaving him virtually unrecognizable, with one source saying that only a mess of blood and the victim's goatee remained. It's suspected Eugene was high on "bath salts" -- an amphetamine-like designer drug -- during the attack. As of this writing, Poppo remains in critical condition.
Finally, a man in Sweden was arrested for allegedly cutting off his wife's lips and then eating them (you know, so they could never be re-attached) -- because he believed she cheated on him.
Let me know when you're done holding your vomit and I'll continue.
Ok, good? Let's proceed, then.
Tuesday night, newly former Saturday Night Live cast member Andy Samberg guested on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live. As part of his sit-down interview, Kimmel tossed to a pre-taped, parody PSA pegged to the aforementioned recent events.
"People. They come in all shapes and sizes: tall, short, fat, thin, young and old. But it's important to remember that whatever they look like -- you shouldn't eat them," Samberg deadpans at the start of his message on behalf of the Citizens Are Not Naturally Ingested By Americans League (C.A.N.N.I.B.A.L.). You can watch the entire thing below.
This sketch is horrendous.
Beyond its lazy writing, the joke's entire premise is based on brutal attacks and the killing of innocent people.
Now, before you start thinking, 'You run a website that supports comedy, an art anchored in free speech' or that I'm being too politically correct or self-righteous; and before you throw out George Carlin's famous quote -- "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately," you should also remember that Carlin posited that the context of one's words and actions is at the heart of their meanings; and you should remind yourself that Carlin was a brilliant social satirist and never tackled traditionally sensitive topics without offering valuable commentary.
The only context to last night's joke comes in the form of one dead man, a man left without a face and one woman whose life is now ruined. No point was made; no artistic boundary was pushed. So, don't fool yourself into believing your taste in humor is somehow more evolved than those who would be offended by it. I count so-called cringe acts (e.g. Jim Norton, Doug Stanhope, Jim Jefferies) as some of my favorite comedians -- a fact well documented the last six years during the course of my comedy coverage -- because there's purpose behind their words. Also, they're funny. Samberg's sketch is just plain ignorant, lowest-common-denominator humor.