Comedians and humorists are supposed to provide entertainment to their readers, viewers or those that attend one of their performances.
George Burns, Red Foxx, Don Rickles, Richard Pryor, etc. over the years have said many things that if taken literally would offend everyone in their viewing audiences.
Although he died in 1994, Lewis Grizzard, Jr. did not escape the wrath of sensitive skinned feminists, black and white racists, gays, liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, and Yankees, etc.
(he didn’t miss out on the chance to offend almost everyone.)
Yet the twenty-five books he wrote do not include any incidents where he was attacked on or off the stage because of his remarks towards anyone, although it has been mentioned that in the later part of his 47 years that the sometimes excessive use of alcohol did not always result in a display of his most pleasant personality.
In one of his books, he discusses the Speech Police in a chapter that he described as “some things you can’t say if you want to be politically correct, regardless of whether or not they are true.”
In his 1994 publication by Bad Boot Productions “It Wasn’t Always Easy, But I Sure Had Fun!,” the pride of Moreland, Georgia, castigates the Speech Police in his unique style of creative sarcasm with an attack that explains why he believes that many middle of the road citizens are victims of an effort to “make the American tradition of speaking one’s mind almost a hanging offense.”
For about ten pages in the hardcopy book in the chapter titled “Cracking Down on the Speech Police,” LG candidly delineates the difference between “telling the truth” and being “politically correct.”
Many more examples are contained therein that are “things that you can’t say if you want to be politically correct, regardless of whether or not they are true.”
He makes eighteen significant comments in pre-1995 that are still part of the national “politically incorrect” category. Here are a few:
1.“I worked sixteen hours a day, seven days a week for years until I made it. Why should the government take my hard-earned money to pay some S.O.B. who is too lazy to work?”
2.“Damn, I’m sick of the federal government telling me I’ve got to hire some idiot who doesn’t know his a_ _ from third base just because he’s [fill in the blank].”
3.“Just because one group happened to do poorer on a test than another group, I don’t think we should make the test easier for the group that did the poorest. Why don’t we keep the test the same and figure out a way to smarten up the group that came in second?”
There are 15 more politically incorrect statements by LG that were the subject of his acid pen in the 1994 book. (Now that I have your attention lets move on to the real thrust of this article.)
One of the most outspoken comedians in the present era is David Chappelle (DC) who has a show on cable television, and he also has the ability to offend everyone. His use of the “N word” (In its raw and full oral recitation) is directed towards both majority and minority race members.
If you are a black or white racist (or others) you will be mortified by some of his remarks. However, if you are strong enough to put aside your bigotry and accept it as comedy you cannot help but engage in uncontrollable laughter.
A prime example is his version of the 1952-1966 all white television show on the American Broadcasting System (ABC), “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” (Nelson)
Chappelle’s depiction and adaption of a prior original episode is outrageous and outrageously funny.
The constant use of the “N word” in a similar context before the civil rights era of that time is both shocking and informative. In today’s racist environment it would have gone too far according to most of the self-servicing promoters of racial and economic unrest.
Does he go too far? To some orators and writers that benefit from the continuous racial divide the obvious answer is Yes! To the supporters of the production of wide range of the “freedom of speech” clause of the First Amendment of the United States constitution the answer is No!
If you think DC is too vulgar, crude, and fans the flames of Division in America you have a simple solution to your outrage and embarrassment – Turn off the television, change channels or don’t attend any of his concerts.
LG until his 1994 death did not use vulgar humor in his ridicule of the individuals or groups that objected to his critical comments. DC regularly uses the unfiltered “N” word to integrated audiences which until May 3, 2022 only provoked colorless uncontrollable laughter by those in attendance. His unrestrained use of another term, “M.F.” has also been received as being entertaining by some groups. The late comedian Georgie Garlin, was banned from the television channels for his unauthorized use of seven dirty words.”
However, on May 3, 2022, DC was physically attacked on stage by a spectator while performing at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (LA), California while participating in the “Netflix is a Joke Festival.”
Fortunately, DC was not injured, and the attacker was charged with felonious assault and three other charges. The crime committed against the comedian was short in duration. The LA district attorney has allegedly reduced the charges to four misdemeanors.
The long-range effect on performers under the First Amendment who express themselves with controversial news and crude language may be more far reaching.
If he was still alive, both Lewis Grizzard, and David Chappelle and other comedians should never be physically attacked for their often-controversial viewpoints. (The above recommendation to use your TV remote doesn’t violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution!)
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You can reach Jerry Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org)