Shock value is no longer edgy

One of my favorite things is when comedians make snide remarks about America’s political correctness “issue.” They think they’ve got millennials by the balls because they’ve been calling us out for being special snowflakes who can’t take a joke.

By now, you’ve probably heard dozens of funny people, including controversial comedian Jerry Seinfeld, complain about college students and their violent aversion to humor. There’s always some person out there babbling on about how “you can’t joke about anything anymore.”

But listen, you can joke about anything you want. After all, freedom of speech is the one thing about the Constitution people seem absolutely certain of. However, if you’re going to put these kinds of jokes out into the world, commentary for and against your perspective is a given.

Observational humor regarding taboo subjects is expected, but the topics aren’t the problem – it’s the way you go about commenting on them. When you make jokes trivializing terrorism, rape, gender expression, sexual orientation etc., you should expect some push back.

These people think young liberals have conspired against the entire world of comedy but the funniest thing about that, is that these people aren’t facing any consequences outside of comments left on social media. They’re not being persecuted for expressing themselves, so why behave as if this new generation rode in determined to strangle the life out of humor itself?

Sure every time someone digs up old racist tweets from 2011 or old MySpace pics from your blackface days, you’re going to get a barrage of think pieces about why it’s not okay to do incredibly stupid things, but at the end of the day no one’s stopping you from living your life.

The big problem with a lot of comedians, is that they think if they make some off-color remark, so to speak, that they’re edgy and ahead of their time, but there isn’t anything remotely original about approaching comedy in this manner. These individuals take it upon themselves to say the worst possible thing to get laughs, completely disregarding the fact that there are more inventive ways to approach these topics without making you want to slap the ever-loving crap out of them.

It shouldn’t be that hard to express a sense of humor without trying to offend people for shock value. After all, the only people who seem to be laughing are the ones who have been historically privileged.

Comedienne Lisa Lampinelli is a primo example of this. All day, she’ll talk about how much she “loves the blacks and the gays,” while simultaneously over-sexualizing and insulting each group. She most likely isn’t a racist, but if she were, would you even be able to tell?

On top of that, the things she says aren’t unique in any fashion because her humor is race-based and who isn’t doing race-based humor?

One of the easiest ways to get cheap laughs is to make jokes comparing the behavior of ethnic groups based on stereotypes. Young, white and unoriginal Comedy Central brand comedians like Anthony Jeselnik and Daniel Tosh have made decent careers profiting off this low-hanging fruit. And so much of their audience spends time arguing on their behalf with the “they’re just jokes” defense, which stopped being sufficient long ago.

People often forget that humor is rooted in reality. Even if these shock-happy comedians didn’t truly believe in the offensive things they say, it’s still allowing people to laugh at the harsh realities of the disadvantaged. If you can’t go without making rape jokes, then you’re lazy. What the hell are you even bringing to the field at this point?

I’m not a huge fan of censorship –– say what you want. I’m not even saying not to laugh at horrible things, I’m saying be mindful and original. But don’t get all bent out of shape when people take issue with the things you say. People are offended, not because we’re soft, but because what you’re saying in regards to common sense is terrible. Whether or not these jokes make some people laugh, it shouldn’t be hard to comprehend why others can’t find the humor in them.