A few days ago, comedian Kathy Griffin decided to drop a photo shoot that showed her holding up a bloody, bruised up, and decapitated head, which oddly resembled President Trump. She has been known for her comedy and bizarre behavior before on New Year’s Eve gigs with Anderson Cooper, which has included her stripping and attempting to do a mock sexual act on Cooper, but even this attempt at comedy caused more than she probably bargained for. She has since apologized. Now, of course, one may argue why she ended up apologizing: was her apology really authentic and from an actual place of shame? Did she understand that what she did was wrong? Or is she apologizing because she just lost a big-time gig with CNN and a lot of people on the liberal side of the political aisle have also thought that it was inappropriate? Additionally, it is being reported that she will explain the photo and will respond to alleged bullying by the Trump family.
No one will know that for sure except her, but it is interesting to see when comedians cross that proverbial line of what is inappropriate versus appropriate, even in the realm of comedy. Of course, in the the world of comedy, today especially, it is believed that anything should be fair game when it comes to what comedians are allowed to do or say.
Comedian Jim Carey came out and defended Griffin in her anti-Trump photo. He even went so far as to say: “The comedians are the last voice of truth in this whole thing.”
Now, as bizarre an idea as that is for Carey to say out loud, of course we all know that he is allowed to have his own opinion. However, it is sad when a person honestly believes that comedians have some kind of objective understanding of the truth and are the ones that should be allowed to speak this truth in any arena and in any way that they deem correct. I think most fans can point to different times comedians have made jokes that were not in line with the truth, but it was “allowed” or okay because it got the most laughs or got the most repeated retelling of it over social media.
When I was a college student, Dave Chappelle, of the Chappelle Show, was the king to us college kids with his sketches on race, racism, Rick James, other celebrities, etc. His stand-up comedy routines were gold, but we did not take everything that he said or did to mean that it was literally right or true every time.
Comedy is great, or can be great, because it falls under free speech and it allows for us to be entertained by people who have a way with words that get us to think or see things in a different light. But all comedians are not necessarily funny to everyone. One person may have been big on Dane Cook or Louis CK, while another individual could care less about either of them because they do not enjoy hearing foul language filled with sexual innuendo.
My point is Kathy Griffin may be funny to someone, but she is not funny to me. Things that she might have said before may have made me or you smile, maybe even burst out into laughter, but you can call a spade a spade when you see it. To be against the President in his politics is one thing, but to pretend to be holding “his head” is something altogether different. Plus, this points out the inconsistency of some liberal comedians. If they are so truthful, then why not make jokes or hold up decapitated model heads of President Obama? I think they would know why they would not be caught doing anything towards him in that fashion nor would they be caught even making a disparaging remark about the man. None of them want to be looked at as a racist in any way.
Griffin’s attempt at humor was distasteful because it portrayed violence towards our country’s leader. Yes, he has many flaws. Yes, you have the right to speak out, even comically, about his policies that you find fault with. But you do not get to be artistic or humorous in any way without consequences and repercussions.
Comedians may do a wonderful service for their audience by providing us moments of entertainment and escapes from the daily stress of life. But they should not pretend to be careless with the truth and forget that responsibility also goes along with free speech, a microphone, and a platform.
PRESS CONFERENCE UPDATE: Let me also add a quick statement that comes to me after I watched clips of Griffin’s press conference through Twitter. Though I am not sorry for her losing a few gigs from the photo controversy, I do not think that the Trump family needs to push this anymore. I do not believe that she needs any more statements made about her and I do not see why people would make death threats to her. That is sick if she is actually receiving death threats. On the other hand, Griffin may call Trump a bully all she wants, but she started it with a distasteful and unfunny photo and he has the right to respond. I do hope that he will be mature enough to let it go after this point though because I highly doubt she will cause him in harm. Well, she may do some harm to his ego.]
Originally published on The Daily Nerv – June 8, 2017