02nd Aug2018

Opinionated: Leslie Jones Has Got One Hell Of A View

by Nathan Favel

leslie-jones-opinion

The following is an open letter to any-one and every-one:

Dear People (…that includes all y’all, too)

A veteran comedian and a current cast member of Saturday Night Live, Leslie Jones has always been in the peripheral of her profession, which often happens to any-one who is not a white man. Jones has been one of comedy’s best personalities for most of her career, with her best jokes being catapulted on a willing audience since the 1980s as if her material was a sack of dented cannon balls. I personally love a comic who goes right for the jugular and Jones has an affinity for that kind of tact. In an era of sensitivity that is making it almost dangerous for any-one to say any-thing, people like Jones are possibly in danger of becoming extinct, which is why Monday, July 30, 2018 should be a day that is remembered as being important to all who witnessed what the brash comic had to say.

On the July 30th episode of The View, Jones was a guest on the program. The discussion moved towards a New York Times article that discussed comedy and what it should be seen as. The following, which is courtesy of TooFab.com, is Leslie Jones response to that question:

“I been doing comedy since 1986. You look back, y’all gonna see so much inappropriate … you can’t hold me accountable for what I said in 1987. I wasn’t smart,” she responded. “I’m so happy social media wasn’t happening in my 20s. I would be the comeback kid. You all would be saying, ‘Ooo, she’s so respectable now!”

“Stop holding comedians to this standard. Stop doing that! Our job is to make the ugliest stuff funny. That’s our job,” she continued. “We are court jesters, we are clowns, that’s what we do. We come out and make this terrible situation laughable. Unless you want to cry for the rest of your life, you want to cry? We can cry if you want to.”

“I want to laugh. Laughter brings joy, laughter brings endorphins, laughter brings contagiousness,” she went on. “People love me so much because I have an energy of happiness. I want everybody to laugh and the best way to conquer pain is laughter. It’s the best way. So let comedians do their jobs, you’re not letting comedians doing their job and you’re miserable! You’re miserable!”

“Because laughter is a release that you are now cutting off. Stop walking around so offended, you’re not gonna be able to survive life if you walk around offended,” she concluded. “LAUGH! LAUGH! LAUGH!”

The fact is simple and that is that Leslie Jones is right. Comedy has never been about being right or wrong, polite or rude, mean or kind, but simply to cause laughter. If a vaudeville performer does a flip, lands on his ass and you laugh, does that mean you should try to analyze why it’s funny, or should you just shut up and laugh? If a billionaire gets a pie thrown at his face, should you ponder the reason for this stunt, or should you just shut up and laugh? If Bozo the Clown plays Bad to the Bone on a Bag-Pipe, should you question why this is happening, or just shut up and laugh? Would you like to know the answer? Shut up and laugh! Life is too short to worry about whether some-thing is or isn’t appropriate to laugh at. The whole appeal of stand-up is that you can walk on stage and say what-ever you’d like and, as long as people trust you, you get to keep doing that. So many of us have complained about the FCC censoring our television shows for years, yet so many of us are too eager to censor each other, because it is the popular thing to do, these days.

I think one thing to consider about our current era is that it is similar to the 1950s and the 1980s, which were very restrained in what was allowed in society. Yet, when you look at the 1980s, comedians were able to be as funny as they wanted, with little control placed on them. Why are we denying ourselves the right to laugh now? Is it because we are too pleased with our 21st century of smart-phones and Twitter? Is it because we have become too content with our get-rich-quick scheme we call the video streaming? In an era where every-one can become a celebrity, are we just going along with the loud few so we can keep our fresh piece of the pie from being repossessed? What of the anonymity of the internet? Are we so cooperative with our new rigid, moral code because we can secretly get our frustrations out on message boards without any-one knowing? This strange time is, in my opinion, happening because we can all pretend to be some-thing greater than we are and the reward for our ego is that we get to feel more important than so many others. Moral superiority is the number one crime not being tried by the Court of Public Opinion and any-time you pass judgement on some-one else, whether it is right or not, you are committing that crime. The fact we are passing judgement of a person’s worth by what kind of humor they like or share is not a sign of things getting better, but a sign they may actually be getting worse.

If people are going to make the world a better place, than it is imperative that we stop fighting about all of the little things, with comedy chief among them. What kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation of people? Should we be making ourselves the judge, jury and executioner of what is considered tasteful, or should we be willing and ready to realize that each person has their own personal preference for what they find to be funny? In other words… just shut up and laugh!
______

Before I go, here is a test of my theory. The following is one of the most famous jokes in history:

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says “Hey bub, why the long face?”

If that joke offended you, you can do one of two things:

  1. Go see a therapist.
  2. Get over yourself!
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