American comedian Louis C.K. performed a controversial stand-up act earlier this year and the internet has not taken well to it after it leaked earlier today. In the stand-up routine, performed in New York, C.K. jokes about the survivors of the 2018 Parkland Shooting, but also individuals who identify as non-binary.
As per Deadline, audio of C.K.’s Dec. 16 routine in Long Island has him questioning the intentions of the Parkland Shooting survivors, including their statements to Congress. He says, “Why does that mean I gotta listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I gotta listen to you talk?”
C.K.'s set also included jokes on gender. In a high-pitched voice the comedian mocked atransgender/non-binary youth, by saying, “They’re like royalty. They tell you what to call them. ‘You should address me as they/them. Because I identify as gender neutral.’ Okay. You should address me as ‘there,’ because I identify as a location. And the location is your mother’s cunt. It doesn’t have to be that nasty, but it can be.”
Of course, as expected, Twitter went nuts over this, but the media have become accomplices as well. IndieWire's headline read "Louis C.K. Blasts Parkland Survivors, Makes Transphobic Joke," with the author proclaiming that C.K. was “courting the alt-right” whereas the Daily Beast reads, "Louis C.K.’s Leaked Comedy Set Panders to the Alt-Right." So anyone who finds him funny is alt-right now? It’s comedy. He can say anything he wants. I’ve heard comedians say a lot worse. You got offended? Who cares. Should he have avoided saying stuff like this if he wanted to get the public back on his side? Definitely. However, the backlash is censorship. If we stop him from saying this stuff then we are giving power to people who want to control what we say and that is a very dangerous thing.
I tackled this weekend on Facebook how puritanical we’ve gotten about comedy of all things. Some of the very best comedy is risky and defiantly rule-breaking. Why is it that we must adhere to a few lunatic fringe left-wingers to censor comedy and why are media outlets kowtowing to them? George Carlin once said, “It’s a comedian’s duty to find the line and deliberately cross over it.”