I love comedians and comedy. It is an honor to make a living by saying offensive, edgy, stupid, weird, truthful or lame things. Comedy is so subjective and that's part of what makes it so amazing. All this said, comedians have an obligation to not spread hate with their "jokes." As a self-proclaimed hater of everything, I love a strong opinion and nothing fills my heart more than a Lewis Black/George Carlin rant filled with swear words and anger. The more passionate, the more dramatic the better, whether I agree with their point of view or not. I have the utmost respect for the art form. I do, however, believe it is a blatant shitting on of stand up comedy to use this rare platform as a way to spread ignorance.
A year ago, my dear friend, who hosts the biggest radio show in Seattle, had a comedian come on as a guest of the show. This comedian brings her dog (a small breed) with her everywhere. During their conversation, my friend brought me and my dog, Angel (Pit Bull) up and how I'm from Seattle and take Angel everywhere too. The comedian said, without blinking, "yeah, it's cute until that dog takes someone's face off." So many things were shocking about this. The fact that this comic is in my home town, talking to one of my dear friends, ON AIR, and says something so blatantly ignorant about a dog she has never met. ON AIR. I thought, how could someone in this day and age be so uneducated to say something so stupid? Did I mention... ON AIR? My friend immediately corrected her and said "oh... we don't do that here. I love that dog. You should meet her."
So... today my inbox was filled with emails about another comedian who posted this "joke" to over 23 thousand fans on Facebook: "PITBULLS ARE LIKE TODDLERS WITH GUNS. CUTE, BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE SAME VICINITY."
Now, the structure's there and I have to give it to him, he clearly put some thought into the comparison. What troubles me is the ignorant stereotype it perpetuates. Pit Bulls are being banned, fought, beaten, abused, over bred, tortured, lit on fire, and thrown away like garbage. The Karate Kid, Rocky Balboa and Rudy combined, got nothing on a Pit Bulls underdog story and people dedicate their lives, times and money trying to educate people and save them. It's an excruciating up hill battle and the idea that people actually think banning an entire breed is the solution, is an outrage. Broken people are abusing these dogs. Human beings are responsible for all of it. Banning the breed is simply a temporary solution to what is a much bigger social problem (Side not: FBI and other law enforcement agencies nationwide have linked animal cruelty to domestic violence, child abuse, serial killings and the recent rash of killings by school age children). For a comedian who has the luxury of reaching so many people, to say something like that is really disappointing. It's one thing for Adam Carolla (same week his book came out) to proclaim women aren't funny. It, too is a ridiculous stereotype and also clearly ignorant, but the difference is women comedians aren't being banned and put to death every day all over the world and more importantly, we have a voice. We can handle Mrs. Kimmel -- I mean Carolla.
Bottom line, I have no intentions of judging a comedian's ability or style and absolutely support walking the line and at times even crossing it. There are people who love my comedy and people who've taken the time to email me and tell me I'm an "unfunny sawed off dwarf in a bad outfit." And yes, they are entitled to their opinion. BUT we as comedians have the responsibility to not perpetuate hate and ignorance towards races, breeds and religions by abusing the special platform we have been given as artists to speak our minds and thoughts. If you'd like to learn more about the almighty precious Pit Bull, please go here to see how you can help and if you see a dog being abused, take the dog and report it immediately.
Follow Rebecca Corry on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheRebeccaCorry