I love comedy shows. Because I love to laugh. I attend Naija comedy events not just for the jokes (80% of which I’ve heard before) but for the thrill of dressing up nicely and meeting other nicely dressed people and of course, “showing face” in one or two industry event.
Lately, even the thrill of dressing up is beginning to wan, with the increasingly distasteful, insensitive and sometimes downright offensive jokes the audience is being served.
Some of these shows are branded “family” shows and are sponsored by “family” brands. What this means is that minors can attend and certain values are expected to be promoted.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. From the lewd dancing to the bawdy jokes, the “family comedy show” Is reduced to an idea that only exists in the radio ads. What the audience actually experiences, is a show that should be censored 18+.
Rape is a touchy sensitive subject all over the world and the blatant disregard of that sensitivity and indirect promotion of the rape culture by these uncouth comedians is alarming.
Last night, a popular comedian, ( who has performed at several churches by the way) joked about a woman being raped at gun point. I watched in dismay as the hall roared in laughter while he was rolling his waist suggestively on stage. I was highly disappointed.
And when I expressed my obvious discomfort with the folks on my table , all I got was: “lighten up. It’s just a joke”.
I don’t see it that way. If you’ve ever been raped, or had to go through the recovery process with a survivor, you’ll never see the subject of rape as funny.
I thought about this all night and I don’t see why we should laugh at the story of anyone made to strip in public and violated.
Some of us are fighting for society to see rape as a heinous crime and such jokes set us back by a long shot.
I have thought this through. I show up at some of these events because of my job as an on-air person. But truth is, I really don’t have to. I’m not being edified and they don’t exactly add value to me in any way. It’s time to reexamine my choices.
Finally, show promoters need to start tagging their shows. If it’s called a family show, then let the content reflect family values. If it’s adult content, then tag it 18+ in the ads so would be attendees would know what they’re in for.
I still however maintain, that humor doesn’t have to be dirty, crass or insensitive to the suffering of others.