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Racial Comedy

The focus for week thirteen in our class is racial comedy. The major question: is racial comedy good for society because it brings up important issues and allows us to laugh at each other, or is it bad for society because it perpetuates racial stereotypes? I analyzed several videos and even reflected on some of the TV shows and movies I have watched and feel it can be a good thing if done properly. The proper way is to set up a space that is open for this kind of comedy. When I saw Carlos Mencia, he mentioned in his show that this would include some stereotypes but that he would be making fun of all races. This sounds a little backward, saying there was an equal racial comedy, but he did as promised; he hit most of the viewers’ racial identities. Going into the show, I knew what I was going to see and hear. I did not get insulted when he made fun of my racial and ethnic background. In Andrew Schulz’s stand-up act ( he makes jokes about finding the best BBQ in Houston, Texas. Again, he does not single out one group to joke about, so it does not feel like an attack, and no one in the audience takes offense to it. Comedic stand-up is easier to set up space because no one is required to see it, no one has to buy the tickets, so the audience is expecting what is to be seen and hear.  How do you set up a movie to set up space for racial comedy?  My first thought was Tropic Thunder Robert Downing JR plays Kirk Lazarus, an Australian white actor that takes on the role of an African American (black face). The role of Lazarus is so over the top and ridiculous that it moves to space to entertain and not only shoes a bad stereotype but also shows how ridiculous it can be. In my analysis of the videos and movies I concluded, that when racial comedy is performed correctly, it can bring light to important issues with comedy and we can learn or see how ridiculous holding on to stereotypes is and, for me, how ridiculous a racist person looks expressing racist ideas.


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