Guest Editorial: The unfunny side of comedy 

It has happened again…comedians are coming under fire for routines that are drawing more ire than accolades. Comedian Aries Spears, formerly of Mad TV fame, is being accused of child abuse for skits that were done about nine years ago that dealt with the issue of sexual predators.

He was joined in this endeavor … the creation of the skit … by Tiffany Haddish, who had not yet hit her peak back during the time the skits were created. One of them is entitled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes” and was allegedly intended to be a Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Tiffany and Aries are being sued by one of the subjects in the film who was 14 years old when the project was created.

Spears and Haddish are accused of “grooming children and coercing them into filming sexually explicit skits.” The woman’s then 7-year-old brother was also featured.

By all accounts, the skits were extremely tasteless. According to reports, the mother of the children featured in the skits was a friend of Tiffany’s, who recruited them to be in the project. The skits were intended to be “PSAs” highlighting the dangers of parents leaving their children with questionable adults for babysitting purposes.

The tasteless skits included a child in underwear playing with an object, stroking it to appear as if simulating a sexual object. There were video shots of the boy with his legs open wide and up in the air, and one of the skits depicted the child looking lecherously at his “uncle” who was clad only in underwear. Another scene had the uncle actually jump into a bathtub (fully clothed) with the child who was taking a bath.

It was thought that the skits were to be aired on Nickelodeon, and Tiffany Haddish, who has since apologized for her involvement, allegedly did not see the finished products. When she finally saw them, she requested that they not be used, but was unsuccessful in her efforts.

Needless to say, both Tiffany and Aries are being dragged through the mud as the result of what was a truly unfunny attempt at addressing the very serious issue of pedophilia.

To most reasonable people, it is obvious that no ill intent was the motive behind the project; Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears did not molest their young charges, they just involved them in a very unfunny attempt to draw attention to a very serious problem, and it backfired.

The timing of the revelation of the existence of the skits was extremely suspicious according to observers. They believe this because it came on the heels of Aries Spears’ very controversial, and again unfunny, jab at Lizzo, the musician who is almost as famous for her girth as she is for her music.

The revelation about Aries’ skits surfaced after he was asked about what he thought about Lizzo’s music and he responded that he couldn’t address that question because he couldn’t get past the fact (because of her weight) that “she looked like a pile of “sh*t.” This comment outraged Lizzo’s fans, and mysteriously the “pedophile” skit’s existence was revealed right after that debacle.

Basically, the woman who was featured in the skit when she was 14 years old is suing Tiffany and Aries for child abuse, among other things.

This issue of comedians just “doing what they do in spite of who they hurt” needs to change.

Freedom of speech does not protect one from the consequences of that speech. Everything is not fair game as butts for jokes. Just like “free speech” does not include the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, every issue is not going to be welcomed just because a comedian is “doing his or her job.”

We will come to understand that there are truly some things that are off limits, and those “comedians” who insist on their right to sling “comedic arrows” that hurt or maim will have to ultimately bear the brunt of their heartless and thoughtless attempts to profit off others’ pain.

Ultimately, even though comedians have the right to joke about what they want to, the time will no doubt come when they will evolve to an understanding that just because you joke about something doesn’t mean that what you said should have been said.

An increasingly cynical “cancel culture” will drive this point home. There are some things that ARE off limits. This does not mean that freedom of speech is curtailed; it just means that comedians need to reach a point wherein they can rise above the ridiculous mediocrity that sometimes masquerades as humor. A Luta Continua.

Reprinted from the Chicago Crusader

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