“HAHA that’s so messed up!!”

Rebecca Krefting’s piece discusses how comedy can be inviting to racist, xenophobic, and homophobic thinking and how such thinking can even become “vindicated” when the comedy comes from someone in a marginalized group. The piece mentions Jeff Dunham’s “Ahmed the Terrorist” bit; I find it funny that she mentioned it because my father, an Iranian immigrant, finds him funny. Surely, my father would not accept any direct racial slur targeted at him, but it makes me wonder how such racist bit becomes considered “okay” within the context of comedy. This is reminiscent of the difference between violence in cartoons and violence in reality (in the form of Internet trolls) and the way in which the former is similarly perceived as “okay.” This also reminds me of something that I struggle with, which is the tension between “multiple identities” in which part of me finds something funny and wants to laugh and another part of me knows it is wrong/offensive (somewhat like Ellison’s extravagant laughter); Krefting states how laughter involves “opening ourselves up to urges we are trained to deny,” so this seems to point at the rebellious, revolting nature of laughter that subverts the mantle of propriety we usually assume outside of the comedic realm. How can something in which we are the butt of an offensive joke be funny to us? How do we reconcile not wanting to perpetuate such thinking with actually finding humor in it?

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