May 26, 2022

"It doesn’t matter which of these jokes is intended, because Gervais has already rejected the counterargument that a hateful joke is only 'ironic' when everyone is in on it..."

"... and when no one is secretly having their actual bigotry reinforced by the cruelty at the center of said irony. Toward the end of the show, he drags out an appalling sketch full of racist Sinophobic stereotypes, which he insists isn’t racist because it’s 'ironic.' Doesn’t matter that this kind of 'irony' is what allows white supremacists to operate in plain sight. Doesn’t matter that five minutes into SuperNature an audience member audibly laughs at a mention of rape, which might indicate that perhaps Gervais’s audience isn’t as ironically humorous as he wants them to be. No, Gervais seems to have decided that because words aren’t literal physical violence, nothing he says can cause harm.... We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...."

Writes Aja Romano in "With Ricky Gervais’s new special, Netflix yet again suffers transphobic fools/Does Netflix even care that Ricky Gervais’s SuperNature is rife with transphobic TERF ideology?" (Vox).

I love Ricky Gervais, but I have to agree with some of what Romana is saying here. In his new show, Gervais relies too heavily on just saying what he knows are terrible things to say and topping it off with a reminder that it's a joke. It's like something an unfunny uncle might do at an unbearable family gathering. He's taking license to say all the transgressive things, but ha ha doncha know it's a joke. I found that repetitive and tiresome, and at some point you really do wonder whether the laughter is based on a different understanding — not that we all know it's untrue but that we secretly think it is true. That's an especially nagging concern when the topic is transgender people.

122 comments:

TWWren said...

I watched his Netflix contribution. The bigger problem with Gervais is that he is predictable and not funny.

deepelemblues said...

Utterly conventional and banal stand up comedy from Gervais.

Which comes off as brilliantly funny because the target is supposed to be immune from being targeted. That situation always creates the most funny.

The professor's stated opinion on this performance has helped convince me that Gervais was not only correct should have gone further. Withering, merciless, uncompromising derision is the proper response to these control freaks.

Rollo said...

At least a TERF is a radical feminist.

Is that not a good thing to be?

rrsafety said...

"Gervais relies too heavily on just saying what he knows are terrible things to say and topping it off with a reminder that it's a joke." I'd recommend you not watch his other special where he makes many jokes about children with cancer. BTW, that one is very funny, too.

rhhardin said...

It's a joke because it's transgressive. It only has to be one other thing (like clever, recognizeable, cute, naughty, bizarre or cruel), or in professional jokes two other things, to be a legitimate joke. It's a joke because it's a joke. It doesn't mean it's not serious. There are serious jokes (recognizeable situation).

Jokes are a domestication of violence. That's the best you can hope for. Suppress domestication and you get actual violence in reaction.

Owen said...

I don’t buy this argument that Gervais goes too far. I think humor is self-limiting. If you go too far, it isn’t funny — no surprise, no shock, no clever novel insight. So you lose your audience and your bookings dry up.

Once you let some pecksniff start to dictate how far you can go, you have lost. Completely.

In the end all these absurd over-the-line jokes or failed jokes are just words. They only hurt you if you let them. Part of being an audience is learning what’s important, where the line is, how to shrug off the crap.

rhhardin said...

Nothing about irony but I haven't seen the session. I doubt it's ironic except for the virtue signallers being the evil ones.

Lurker21 said...

I found that repetitive and tiresome, and at some point you really do wonder whether the laughter is based on a different understanding — not that we all know it's untrue but that we secretly think it is true.

But is that really a different understanding? Isn't it the nature of stereotypes that we know that they aren't always true but also know that there is always at least a little grain of truth in them? They wouldn't sting as much if they were completely untrue. Much of comedy is double-talk, and it mirrors society's double-think, our knowing that the things that we deny and ban and condemn most vigorously aren't entirely untrue and may be dangerous because of that grain of truth.

cassandra lite said...

There were a few laughs. Period.

He got tired of either himself or the material, and it showed. (Ending on a true anecdote from his school days is quite the tell.)

Maybe he's just tired of this. Hard to imagine he'll show up again in a couple of years with another one.

rhhardin said...

Gervais said that Chinese people are the only ones that don't deserve human rights. (Ghost Town, 2008)

Enigma said...

Aja Romano does not understand:

- Breaking taboos is not "supremacy." See George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words skit. See Steven Pinker on the psychology of taboos.

https://www.isegoria.net/2010/10/the-psychology-of-taboo/

- Laughter about scary things is known as NERVOUS LAUGHTER. This has nothing to do with making light of the situation. It revealed fear, discomfort, and uncertainty in the audience. This was Gervais' point after all. Milgram's research of simulated electric shocks to kill others in the lab involved nervous laughter. Landmark psychology research.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/nervous-laughter#why-we-nervous-laugh


We have had far too many years of pointless taboos and coddling about tough truths. Is Gervais' speech supporting or leading to the genocidal actions of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Xi? Is talking about taboos worse than head-in-the-sand childish woke morality? No and no.

n.n said...

Trans/homosexuals, trans/bisexuals socially excluded from the pulse of the spectrum, trans/neos captured in a politically congruent ("=") construct. Mengele experiments for transgender conversion therapy through surgical, medical, or psychiatric corruption mandated for the general population, teenagers, and children. Transphobia is a special and peculiar projection.

Sebastian said...

Haven't checked out the show or the laughter, but --

"I found that repetitive and tiresome"

Which makes a performative point by highlighting the far more repetitive and tiresome BS from the other side.

"at some point you really do wonder whether the laughter is based on a different understanding — not that we all know it's untrue but that we secretly think it is true"

That what's untrue? That men and women are biologically different? That a woman with a penis is still a man? That sort of thing?

Mike Sylwester said...

Comedians should make fun only of Trump and of Republicans.

Nothing else is funny. The feelings of marginalized people never should be hurt.

rhhardin said...

Gervais Chinese scene.

Michel said...

“ It's like something an unfunny uncle might do.” Unfunny aunts, sisters, brothers, grandparents and family friends also do this. How is this not stereotyping?

Real American said...

Trans people claim they want to be considered normal but they don't want to be the butt of jokes. Gervais skewers everyone. Isn't their fundamental argument that they should be included as part of everyone? Bitching and moaning about jokes and criticism simply gives lie to their claims. They don't want to be part of everyone. They want special treatment, which is why they lie about jokes causing violence...but only in their case. Gervais's mockery of Christians doesn't cause violence against Christians any more than his jokes cause violence against anyone else.

The entire movement is all about forcing people to deny basic biology and ignore mental illness to enable their delusions. Trans people aren't above criticism or mockery. To the contrary, they're quite deserving of both. For a movement fundamentally based on an outright lie, that's the norm.

gahrie said...

Now do John Stewart, SNL and Kathy Griffin.

gahrie said...

Am I the only one who remembers the "Pat" character from SNL? Why hasn't SNL been cancelled?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Something is only defined as "hateful" if it properly offends the corrupt woke leftists.

hahaha. f them.

D.D. Driver said...

Sorry Prof., in a timeline of educated idiot that cannot define what a woman is because they "are not biologists," everything is fucking funny. Maybe the humor seems lazy because making jokes about this stuff is just too fucking easy and yet at the same time everyone is too chickenshit to tell jokes.

You don't like Gervais's jokes, tell better jokes. But that's not what the left wants. They don't want better jokes. They want no jokes.

Stop JOKING! What if someone, somewhere laughs for the wrong reasons?!?!

Ice Nine said...

I (honestly) have sympathy for transgenders and their struggle with their mental illness. And they can do whatever want, and to themselves, as far as I am concerned. It is the sacrosanctity of transgenderism and the transgender chic (complete with the attendant sickening grooming of little kids in schools) that has sprung up like a mushroom in the last couple years that I want to be vigorously challenged and combatted. With worthy weapons - humor and ridicule - Ricky Gervais is doing just that. God bless him.

Mark said...

Gervais of late reminds me a lot of the jokes my grandfather told late in life about Native Americans, often excused like what's happening here but it was mostly just a bit of lipstick on a racist old pig.

While his most recent show I thought was good, I have little desire to hear him perform `stand up' as it has recently begun to typify `punching down' in comedy where the butt of the jokes are often marginalized people. There's much funnier material out there than that.

Richard Aubrey said...

Back going on sixty years, I saw Albee's "Zoo Story", two losers talking to each other. Eventually, one stabs the other. The audience laughed loudly. It wasn't funny. It was the release of tension that sparked the laughter.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Do not mock the delicate and entitled left. You must obey them.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

"transphobic"

We are so scared of trans people! eeeeek! /not

In reality - the trans bully movement are scared that you might mock them or do something to stop them from manipulating and damaging your children.

Narr said...

No, gahrie, you're not alone in remembering "Pat" and xer friend "Chris" on SNL.

Screw Aja Romano, and all the freakazoids who infest the culture.

I agree with the commenter above who called for unremitting and merciless ridicule of these narcissistic boobs.

tim maguire said...

"TERF" is a sexist smear. People who make good arguments in good faith don't use it.

I haven't seen the Gervais' set yet as I don't watch a lot of standup and also I prefer my Gervais curated--the little 2 or 3 minute snippets someone else makes from a larger sketch. But I have seen this 2 or 3 minute snippet and Enigma is right about the nervous laughter. It's not that Gervais is particularly clever in this bit, but he's openly saying what we're all thinking but aren't supposed to say. There's relief that as the number of famous people--J.K. Rowling, Dave Chappelle, and now Ricky Gervais--grows who are willing to stick their necks out and say it, maybe we all get a little more permission to speak the truth ourselves.

farmgirl said...

Gervais can be brilliantly mean. I saw that in both Afterlife and Derek.
I don’t think it was b/c of his own personal feelings; more about the things he sees. Being accosted/raped by a long-haired, mascara wearing, dick-wielding woman in a bathroom is a legitimate fear- it’s happened, right? But- no, never mind the sick between HER legs; she’s definitely a woman.

I was raised by the adage: there’s a little bit of truth in everything you say. I get that.
I appreciate honesty. I don’t appreciate mind games.

It’s ok to turn the channel.

Interested Bystander said...

Could it be possible that Gervais is doing a 21st century version of what Lenny Bruce was doing in the 1950s? Bruce fought for freedom of speech and censorship by saying what at the time were offensive things. He insisted on using the seven dirty words out loud and getting arrested for his trouble.

With today's woke idiocy most comics are self-censoring for fear of being canceled. Few will do college dates anymore, which used to be the bread and butter of a touring comic's livelihood. So Ricky Gervais tells some offensive jokes and it upsets some Karens in the audience. Turn it off if you find it offensive. If you go looking for racism everywhere you go you will find it, often where it doesn't actually exist.

William said...

Why is it okay to ridicule and ban transphobic comedians? Do people not understand the consequences. Dave Chapelle has already been attacked. Do we need another casualty among the transphobic comedians for people to understand the damage that their hostile words can cause....I long to live in a society where comedians can make jokes about Charley's Aunt and live out their natural lives without fear or ridicule.

tim maguire said...

not that we all know it's untrue but that we secretly think it is true

Granted, I have only seen YouTube clips, but unless you're talking about some un-extracted 180 degree turn he does in the full show, you have that exactly backwards. We all secretly know it's true, but we keep that to ourselves and go along with the people who say it's untrue because that's how you keep your job.

Interested Bystander said...

"It's Pat" - Even the title of the skit is funny because it's clever.

Lem said...

Old jokes, old material have a retirement ceremonies punctuated by a noticeable absence of laughter. It’s called bombing. Trying to circumvent that is futile. Prohibiting jokes give moribund material a new lease on life.

What Rh said 👆🏽

n.n said...

Comedians should make fun only of Trump and of Republicans.

People of Orange (POO) and deplorables a la "Kenyan elite vs".

dwshelf said...

Yay.

If we all "secretly know it is true", then it's a legitimate topic of humor, even if it's not actually true at all. Or, you know, only mostly true. Or whatever. Complexity should be allowed to be complex. In the end, we all benefit by understanding "complex" vs "forbidden".

Howard said...

Now do now do now do.

I think the only rule Gervais broke in the special was the over explanation contextualization of the jokes that reduced the humor comedy factor. Like a magicians trick secrets, something gets runed when us punters get in on how the sausage is made.

Lem said...

Can’t beat them comedically, nor with arguments… shame it. 🙄

JOrz said...

This reliance on mind reading bothers me a lot. So let me get this straight. If you laugh at a joke, I know exactly what you're really really thinking? Your deep down feelings? And guess what? The answer is always racists, homophobic, or misogynist.

I would think the only thing I would be able to know is that you find it funny. Anything beyond that is wild speculation and has no place in serious conversation. There is a genre of humor called dead baby jokes. Nobody would apply that logic to anyone who laughs at those jokes. They would just say your sense of humor is sick.

Kevin said...

We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...."

Separate but equal?

I thought inclusion was the ultimate goal.

ndspinelli said...

Comedy is lost on over analyzing, control freak, people. Comedians are our last line of defense against the nanny philosophy expressed in this sanctimonious post. Would it be OK to joke about tranny MAGA voters in your Orwellian world?

Myself and my bride watched this special and found it intelligent, probing and hilarious. WTF else matters. Gervais, Chappelle, and all the real comedians don't care if you're offended, nor should they.

Lem said...

Legislating comedy is futile.

Kevin said...

What has the world come to when a comedian must continually interrupt his act to remind the audience he's telling jokes?

Enigma said...

My second comment: The left desperately needs a new tool than "-phobic." The notion of homophobic started decades ago when gay people were in the closet. Some of the fiercest critics of gays happened to also be gay, but deep in denial. They were likely correctly described as phobic (fearful) of public gay identities.

A much larger group opposed homosexuality on the basis of visceral disgust. As in, "thinking about sex involving a penis in an anus makes me sick to my stomach." Disgust is far, far, far more common than phobia or secret fears of being classified as gay or transgendered. Anuses are not meant to harbor penises, anuses become bloody and damaged by penises, anal sex involves putting your pee-pee in smelly poo-poo, and anal sex is known to spread disease (i.e., AIDS, monkey pox).

When all you have is a hammer the world is full of nails. When all you have is a screwdriver the world is full of screws. When all you have is "phobia" the world is full of fear. For the political debate to move forward the left must accept that disgust is a real, sincere, and inescapable emotion. They must face their TABOO regarding phobia of disgust.

Kai Akker said...

TWWren beat me to it. ITA.

Jason said...

I'm pretty much at the "oh, fuck off" stage of my tolerance of the perpetually offended and outraged woketard population.

The more jokes, the better. Skewer them relentlessly, right along with everybody else, until they pull their heads out of their asses.

PM said...

Remember, this is serious and beautifully put:
"The ‘sex binary’ is a colonial fiction created to oppress trans, queer, and gender-non-conforming people (esp. of indigenous genders), and people of color as a whole, as well as women."

Jupiter said...

"I love Ricky Gervais, but I have to agree with some of what Romana is saying here."

Althouse, I find what Aja Romana is saying here deeply hurtful. So let's not hear any more about it, OK? Bigot. Hater.

Will Cate said...

It's like his Golden Globes routine amplified 1,000 times. And as funny as that was, really, 10 minutes of it was enough.

Ampersand said...

How did the human race fail for so long to perceive the newly unarguable truth that people with the mind of one sex can be born into the body of the other sex? And what was the observational breakthrough that revealed this truth to its believers? I am reasonably well read, and genuinely don't know the answers to these questions. If something is true, I want to believe it. OTOH, I don't want to be bullied, and transgenderism is often being propagated by people who use the tactics of bullies, instead of the tactics of those who wish to announce a scientific breakthrough.

Caroline said...

I turned it off after 10 mins because it was base and obscene. I was offended!

CJinPA said...

We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...."

You're not expected to do a damn thing except listen to the jokes or not; like them or not. That's it. There is nothing to be 'agreeing' about. This is speech, not a negotiation.

Ann's opinion that it's not funny is a different take. Free speech can survive that.

Jupiter said...

Oh. It's Vox. Hah. Decided to broaden your supply of inane ravings, did you?

Well, OK. I have a problem with this newish word, "transphobic". It is true, that the kind of men who go in for this trans bullshit are often, indeed usually, belligerent to the point of being dangerous to the people they encounter. But I have had a fair amount of experience with bullies, and I really only fear them in gangs. You'll notice that these assholes pretending to be vaginas mostly attack women and people who are at their workplace, and can't easily defend themselves. So, they aren't really all that scary, to a normal man. We need a suffix that implies disgust and loathing without any component of fear. Trans-negative? Sounds too medical.

Wince said...

That's an especially nagging concern when the topic is transgender people.

As opposed to any other group being butt of a joke? Why?

Barry Dauphin said...

I thought the real targets of the humor were the SJWs, who are overwhelmingly white, cis, progressives.

wildswan said...

There's segment on YouTube which seems to be from the same show in which a Christian and Rickey Gervais are raped by Satan down in Hell. Gervais portrays the Christian as from Texas, as anti-science, as unable to spell, as a vindictive follower of a bad God who allows Satan to exist, and finally, as ending up in Hell where Satan prefers to rape him [the Christian] because he won't like it while Gervais doesn't care all that. People had a good laugh about the segment. Because they agreed? I think they did. I think Gervais went for everybody and so singling him out for telling trans jokes while ignoring his Christian jokes is sort of saying that trans jokes are out while Christian jokes don't matter. I think Gervais expected that response and it's part of the show. Anyhow, I think he's just one of those offensive comedians. The trans lobby won't get anywhere when a lawsuit will reveal that it is arguing that the other offensive statements were jokes and alright, just not the ones about them.

JAORE said...

Can't we at least tell the F-to-M transgenders to man up when they hear a joke?

Jim Gust said...

I was surprised, after all the uproar, at how little of the performance was about LGBQT. The best jokes in that area were not about transexuals but the utter nonsense of "choosing your pronouns."

The best joke of the set, paraphrased, was "It's not up to Boris Johnson what a muslim woman wears over her face. That's up to her husband."

Funny because it's true.

LordSomber said...

Trans fragility continues to be a growing concern within the comedy arena, and elsewhere.

Gem Quincyite said...

Here, in 2022, if I claim I have Gender Dysphoria.
would I be told that no longer exists? Would I be labeled a
hate monger?

Tina Trent said...

This is Aja Romano who complains constantly that murdered and raped white women hog up attention that ought to go to non-white victims. What a fucking booby prize: dead raped, murdered, then stuck on the cover of People Magazine.

This is the hag who tells jokes about raped and murdered white women. She mockingly calls white women who fear for their safety "Karens," denying their fear and diminishing their victimization.

In fact, attacking living and murdered white women for being white women is her entire, racist, sleazy, hate-filled schtick.

Try google before you defend this sort of racist, noxious bitch.

She could suck my dick, if I had one.

bobby said...

"We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...."

That someone would say this out loud leaves me cold. Of course "identity politics" should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else. I find it incomprehensible that someone would say such a thing. "MY values must never be touched!" Yeah, forget that.

Joe Smith said...

He's been doing the 'It's a joke!' thing forever. It's part of his persona.

Kind of like 'I don't get any respect.'

Take the good with the bad.

But the sad thing is, only people with FU money like Gervais and Rowling can say anything that is remotely funny, offensive, or true these days.

Doesn't seen very equitable to me.

Joe Smith said...

Btw, I am getting extremely tired of the constant 'White Supremacy' comments and slurs.

Except for KKK democrats and socialist Nazis, it's not really anything to worry about.

If PoC are so sensitive that they can't live their lives without worrying about white supremacists then I think they're the ones with the problem...

Amadeus 48 said...

I guess we are supposed only to like jokes about squares. Lenny Bruce? George Carlin? Dick Gregory? Monty Python?
If you think there is anything funny about a man who thinks he is a woman or an “ally” of such a person, you are wrong. You must take that person and his/her delusions completely seriously and imagine that you are dealing with the most fragile personality you have ever encountered. Think you are a feminist? Are you a TERF? Then you are cruel and evil.

So why are jokes about squares OK? Why are jokes OK? You are laughing at someone. How about jokes about Frenchmen? Brits? Ozzies?

And what about white supremacy? Are you a white supremacist if you think Western civilization is important? If you love Bach and Manet? Van Gogh? Alexander Pushkin (trick question)? Thomas Sowell? And while we are at it, what about Obama? He is substantially—at least 50%— white isn’t he?

In short, this whole debate is stupid because it is based solely on third-rate left wing ideology and racist assumptions that are simply and obviously wrong. If Ricky Gervaise or Jerry Seinfeld or John Cleese or Rita Rudner or Sarah Silverman is funny, they’ll find an audience. If they are not funny, they’ll fail. That is the way it should be.

M Jordan said...

Gervais plays clown-nose on, clown-nose off games all the time and covers his track with the irony umbrella …but why not? This is what a clever person does to tweak the status quo: use their own weapons against them.

I’ve only watched part of the show but my assessment is Gervais is fighting for comedy itself. And I appreciate that.

SGT Ted said...

The article is simply the continuation of the censorious bullying by trans activists directed at anyone who says what they don't like. TRAs routinely vilify their critics with name calling and death threats.

Sauce for the Goose.

Breezy said...

There needs to be reasonable pushback on the trans movement. There are a large number of young people buying into the cult side of it, subsequently ruining their reproductive lives ahead, among other things. People like Gervais serve a useful dish of cold hard truth. Perhaps he can help some of these young people see the cult for what it is, and be able to make a decision with more clarity, whichever way they see fit.

who-knew said...

What Real American said. And this "We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...." just reinforces his point. Hard to read that as anything other than that identity politics is special and so should be off limits to mockery. At this point, identity politics cries out for mockery. It's been treated with kid gloves for far too long. I haven't watched the Gervais special yet but I plan to, if only because my miniscule contribution to the ratings will piss off people like Aja Romano.

Bill Peschel said...

None of these criticisms matter so long as he is allowed to speak. Don't like his jokes? Don't listen to him.

Right now, a 72-year-old science-fiction writer (Mercedes Lackey) has been cancelled by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Her crime was to refer to a black author as "colored."

Not a "person of color." Colored.

The author in question (Samuel R. Delany) was not offended. He's 80 years old, and understands how people talk from his generation. He didn't mind at all, because she clearly respects him as a writer, and he, her.

Not enough for the SFWA. They took back her lifetime achievement award (given to her last year) and gave her a severe scoulding. The Twitter mobs are already howling for her blood.

For saying "colored writer."

Once we started allowing speech to be weaponized back in the Clinton Administration ("hate speech"), we've reached the natural outcome.

Robert Marshall said...

The "rape joke" is not a joke about rape. It is a joke about pronouns.

The real woman is in the ladies restroom, and objects to the presence of a woman with a penis. Why? "He might rape me."

Angrily: "SHE might rape you!"

The joke is about the pronoun people. The punchline is that the pronoun used is more important to them than the fact that a rape might occur. Whether that is funny or not is for you to decide. But it is not a joke about rape.

Freeman Hunt said...

The exact type of humor we need right now is offensive humor. The acceptable space has been defined so tightly that all comedians should be smashing at the walls with sledgehammers.

Richard Fagin said...

Looks like Real American hit it on the head. Now everyone watch Gabriel Iglesias' "Racist Gift Basket" routine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QujjcWahlg

Now put those doggone Memin Pinguin comics back on the rack at Walmart!

Daniel12 said...

"Trans people aren't above criticism or mockery. To the contrary, they're quite deserving of both."

I think this nicely captures one of Ann's points: that however Gervais may have meant these jokes (ironic, transgressive, exactly as delivered, whatever), there are plenty of people laughing at them because they believe transgender people deserve the cruelty they get. People like you. At least you're honest!

Butkus51 said...

Does this apply to Polish jokes?

Scott Patton said...

"We’re expected to speak his lingua franca of bad jokes and meet him halfway by agreeing that 'identity politics' should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else...."

No, we aren't expected by RG to do anything.

Old and slow said...

I just watched the show. It was disappointing. Kind of dull.

Rabel said...

Between the two of them, Aja Romano and the previously cited Roxane Gay constitute something well over 600 pounds of sweet, sweet lovin. Perhaps even enough to satisfy rh.

Yes, I'm fat shaming. Because there's fat and there's disgustingly, morbidly obese and persons in the latter category should not be giving advice on anything other than the dangers of being disgustingly, morbidly obese.

Kate said...

Romano uses the word TERF, and then gets high and mighty about someone else's bigotry.

AZ Bob said...

"What if he rapes me?"

"No, what if she rapes me!"

The jokes are airmed that those people who are trying get us to change the way we look at gender. I would mock these people, not the trans-people.

Iman said...

Halfway through the Gervais SuperNature offering. Funny guy, if you think otherwise, just find something more to your liking.

Joe Smith said...

'Not a "person of color." Colored.'

The second the libs came up with 'person of color' it was idiotic and Orwellian.

Btw, I'm wearing jeans of blue and eating grapes of green.

Beasts of England said...

’She could suck my dick, if I had one.’

Well played.

cfkane1701 said...

What a shame all these people are being forced to go to Netflix and click the play button so they can be exposed to Gervais' comedy.

See, it's not that Gervais is saying it that's the problem for them. It's that people can hear him say it. And their opinion of the people hearing it is so low, they think those addle-pated automatons will consider Gervais' comedy to be marching orders.

More and more the left reminds me of the Puritans, terrified that someone, somewhere, might be laughing and having a good time.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Why is it “an especially nagging concern” because it relates to transgender people? You’re making Ricky’s point. Comedy is comedy, no topic should be off limits.

And it’s really nothing like an “unfunny uncle” at a family gathering. He’s just boorish and you don’t like it. OK. But you didn’t buy tickets to the family thing. And you don’t have to listen or stay. This is an entertainment venue and they bought tickets to be entertained. Go to be entertained, stay home if you don’t like his humor. Simple.

And this article is just garbage (white supremacy? AYFKM?). The author is the type of person he was making jokes about (I don’t know if he or she or they are transgender and I don’t care, that’s not what I’m talking about) the jokes were about the woke ideology and, let’s face it, it’s kinda kooky. I’m a guy but I call myself a girl so “magic” I’m a girl? And everyone else has to go along with that as if it’s factual and accurate and not the least bit odd?

I’m all for treating human beings as human beings with dignity and general respect. But I don’t have to enable or encourage their ideologies. And I can laugh at the situation when it gets comical.

He commented on (mocked) the “view” that a woman is apparently not allowed to have any reservations about a man (who says he’s a woman) using the ladies room. All the hurt feelings can only go one way, right? We all have to bite our tongues, say nothing, because he (or she?) wants to use the ladies room and might “feel bad” if that’s not allowed. But we apparently don’t care about the feelings of the woman who just wants to use the ladies room and not be exposed to naked biological man ? What about her feelings?

So when Ricky supposes that she might say “what if he rapes me?” He’s first mocking that view of fear (because it’s a little hysterical - after all the rape scenario is “extremely unlikely” and “Very few trans people are rapists” were told. I’m sure that’s true, very few non-trans people are rapists too. Ok). And then second, he mocks the woke ideology with the, by now expected, reply “what if ‘she’ rapes you, you bigot”. He’s making my point AND he’s cracking on the ideology not any particular transgendered person or even transgendered people in general. It’s the “view” the “ideology” the “you must think this way - your own views or feelings be damned” that he’s mocking. It is so overboard as to be funny/comical.

But hey, YMMV. Don’t buy the tickets, don’t watch the show.

ndspinelli said...

This "punching down/punching up" is rife w/ intellectual dishonesty. Making jokes about transgenders is punching way up, they have been beatified by the left and hover above our reach.

Lars Porsena said...

Wow, this seems to have provoked comments from a lot of old lurkers or new althousians.

c365 said...

That's the comedic trope. They make jokes at someone's expense. Do you want everyone to be telling Seinfeld, "what's up with grapenuts? no grapes, no nuts" jokes? And even so, doesn't that just marginlize a small group of people who might actually take pride in working on the grapenuts brand?

Or how about we marginalize the scientists who worked on the seedless watermelon? Is it all good to mock and shame their efforts because it's not a protected group?

No, the reality is, there's always a line between light minded humor and inappropriate humor. The reality is coarse, degrading humor isn't ever something we should spend our time on, even if it can make us laugh.

Rusty said...

Joe Smith said...
"He's been doing the 'It's a joke!' thing forever. It's part of his persona.

Kind of like 'I don't get any respect.'

Take the good with the bad.

But the sad thing is, only people with FU money like Gervais and Rowling can say anything that is remotely funny, offensive, or true these days.

Doesn't seen very equitable to me."
Joe. You don't need FU money. All you have to do is not give a shit what other people think of you. And just be honest. You'll be surprised that just being honest with the Howards and gadflys of this world ends up being funny as hell.The earnest smugness of the left invites mockery. So mock away. They can't kill ya.

Quaestor said...

That's an especially nagging concern when the topic is transgender people.

Why? "Trans" this and that is and always was a joke. Some people are fools, and there's nothing to be done but discourage their foolishness.

What's really transgressive is the coercion of normal people into accepting what is self-evidently crazy.

Ann Althouse said...

“ The "rape joke" is not a joke about rape. It is a joke about pronouns…”

There’s a point before the punchline where there’s a laugh. Listen again and you ought to see what Romano is referring to.

Quaestor said...

Daniel12 writes, "[There] are plenty of people laughing at them because they believe transgender people deserve the cruelty they get. People like you. At least you're honest!"

Honesty. Think about that word long and hard, Daniel12. Then think about what "transgender people" say about themselves.

n.n said...

karmic irony... Gosnell's Choice... sanctioned boomerang effect... redistributive change, retributive change... diversity [dogma]... Diversity, Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE)... #MeToo #HerToo... political congruence ("=")... liberalism today, conservative tomorrow...

Joe Smith said...

'So mock away. They can't kill ya.'

If you've been reading my comments, I am not shy about my opinions.

My point was, few people with a platform or megaphone if you will, have the luxury of saying what's on their mind.

The only 'celebrities' that go against the woke narrative are insanely rich.

The actor with 2 lines on 'Blackish' had better keep his damned mouth shut or find himself doing Hallmark movies in Vancouver...

cubanbob said...

Aja Romano: what kind of smelly Italian cheese is that? As for Gervais folks are overlooking the fact that he wants to be cancelled. He is daring the progs to cancel him. That he is still on Netflix signifies he isn't trying hard enough to get cancelled.

Blair said...

It's not a rape joke, and even if it was, people can and should laugh about rape, as they do about many other tragic things.

I always use the example of Pulp Fiction when talking about rape jokes. The rape scene therein is funny because the idea of anybody raping a monolithic man like Ving Rhames is so farcical. Rape can be funny. There shouldn't be a rape exception in comedy.

Owen said...

I think the trannies (and others adopting these contrived new gender-blender identities) get offended more easily and display greater pyrotechnics than one might anticipate, because they are new to the role. They are overacting as they explore the part in this great drama of I Am So Much More Important And Aggrieved Than You Could Ever Imagine. They don’t have many exemplars or templates on how to think, act, speak, feel in their new identity —so they play things BIG and LOUD and ANGRY/HURT.

If we had decades in which to accommodate their self-regarding frolics, they might dial it down; or, at least, we could learn perhaps to ignore or forgive this obnoxious narcissistic stuff; but we don’t have decades. We don’t have days. We are being forced to follow their lead in a mad whirlwind around the dance floor right the hell now. And tomorrow it will be some new wild excursion, again cranked up to 11.

The point is this: whatever they dream up, we must support. Any questioning is hateful. And derision of the kind offered by Ricky Gervais is cause for their complete apoplexy. Which is why I find it cathartic.

rhhardin said...

Google suggests the rape joke punchline "You had to be there." It would work for holocaust jokes too.

realestateacct said...

The joke is that we all know that transexual men are not really women but we are not allowed to say so. I personally laughed at his correcting the worried women's pronouns as she worries about being raped in the locker room. And I support the right of adults to live as the gender that appeals to them as people like Jan Morris or Wendy Carlos do though not the right of folks like Renee Richards to enter tennis competitions as a woman.

There's a difference between being polite and being imposed upon.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I disagree with Althouse here. Truly intersex individuals are extremely rare and far outnumbered by people pretending to be “trans” for attention. It’s damn near a mass hysteria among the young. The one in a million person born with mixed gender have been used, co-opted by evil criminals who would rather do time as a chick instead of go to the mens prison they belong in, abused by evil teachers who think they have the right to separate children from the beliefs the children’s parent(s) instilled in them. The activists want everyone else in America to change our lives, our morals, our vocabulary and share our bathrooms with freaks. THAT is who Gervais is making fun of, thank God. If there is a group who needs mocking right now it’s these grifting gasbags and their poser pretensions.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Like others here I find Romano’s use of TERF to be of questionable taste. What is so R about a F who Es the Ts. You have no natural right to be included by others. Sheesh.

Jon Burack said...

I have zero sympathy for Romano's complaint here. This is an age where the Babylon Bee gets upstaged by the insane remarks of those they seek to satirize. Irony itself is under attack. So it's not surprising it fights back by upping the ante. As to why someone laughs before the punchline, how can anyone have any idea at all of why they laughed. I do know people are now hungry for someone to ridicule this nonsense. And why not? It is not innocent nonsense. It is meant as a weapon, so it is simply not surprising that the reaction to it seems to be a weapon also. Too bad that's what it's come to, but the alternative is to cower before the glowering judgments of the likes of Aja Romano. She's the one who needs to lighten up.

D.D. Driver said...

There’s a point before the punchline where there’s a laugh. Listen again and you ought to see what Romano is referring to.

So what? What of it? Am I supposed to conclude that there is a sociopath in the audience that literally thinks the idea of a person fucking another without consent is hilarious? Is that really the most logical conclusion, here? People laugh at all sorts of shit. They laugh because there is awkward tension in the room. How many motherfuckers are we going to cancel every time Kamala Harris enters the room? 🤣

But, no, if I were a better, more woke person I would just assume that an unseen stranger is the most evil version of themselves that I can imagine. I guess I'm just a piece of shit because I'm willing to give the laughing guy the benefit of the doubt. 🤷‍♂️

AMDG said...


Gervais explained his sense of humor quite clearly when he described the conversation between his uncle and brother at his father’s funeral. Taking the piss out of someone is the equivalent of a hug. Being from the Boston-Irish culture I get that concept completely.

At the end of the day they are just jokes - no more, no less.Sticks and stones.

Tina Trent said...

Ann, I don't care when or if people laughed about a rape joke.

You need to know more about these actually prejudiced cultural commissars before you treat them like an authority on anything.

She's a warped person whose foundational views and how our establishments enforce them do far more harm to real rape victims than rape jokes, because she and her fellow fascists wield all the power. And THAT is what's wrong with her side.

And there are sides. Cruel neutrality is intellectual and moral submission in the real world.

A five minute perusal of what she has said and done would show you how much more offensive she is than the worst Gervais did. Power is real. So is the dangerous cultural moment in which we find ourselves.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Various cranks and eggheads have been claiming --for 40+ years-- that jokes lead to violence.

In that time no proof has been offered. No evidence, hard or anecdotal. It's hogwash.

Meanwhile, the only "violence" caused by any jokes has been visited on the comics.

Check our podcast, "Bigotry & Bloodshed," in which we explored this phenomenon.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

"an unfunny uncle might do"

Misandry? MISANDRY!

effinayright said...

I can't put my finger on it, but intuition tells me billions of people out there are saying things I disagree with and don't think funny----and for some reason, I don't give a shit.

And I can't put my finger on it, but intuition tells me billions of people out there are saying things I agree with and think funny----and for some reason, I don't give a shit.

What an utter waste of perfectly good electrons to be posting crap like this on-line.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

I hope progs keep going with this stuff. I dare you.

Will it lead where they want it to lead? Or the exact opposite place? Bailing water into the Good Ship Progress faster and faster as it sinks.

Do they not see the jig is up? I hope they don't and they take a ride on the pendulum.

Patrick Henry was right! said...

Wait, transgendered folks are now a race????? Jokes about them are ra ist???
Biological reality is racist???
Does that mean ALL reality is racist???
To our former professor, if the conclusion conflicts with reality, why would you continue to support the conclusion?? That is ideology, cum religion, i.e, a cult. Congrats, you have become a cultists.
Is making fun of a cultists, racist?

Smilin' Jack said...

Transgenderism is taking up way too much bandwidth lately. Bearded ladies used to be in carnival sideshows for a reason.

Jupiter said...

"... at some point you really do wonder whether the laughter is based on a different understanding — not that we all know it's untrue but that we secretly think it is true."

Well, if you mean, we secretly believe that people born with penises are men, and will be 'til the day they die, however grotesquely they mutilate themselves in the meantime, you're wrong. I don't "secretly believe" that. I know it for a fact. I don't really find it all that amusing to hear Gervais say it. It's like he's making fun of people who think the Earth is flat. Although there is a certain satisfaction in contemplating the insensate rage he must be inspiring in a wide range of people who belong on the bottom of the ocean. Fuck Raja Omano. In the ass. With a tent-stake. Sideways.

Vance said...

“I”m trans and you cannot mock me!”

Really?

This is coming from a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You want to know what one of the biggest and most successful/popular/critically acclaimed Broadway musicals is? The Book of Mormon Musical.

It’s a huge attack on members of my faith.

So guess what? The Church bought advertising in the playbill: “Now that you’ve watched it, why not read the real thing and compare?”

That’s how you should respond to mean spirited, vicious attacks.

Why do Trans want to ban everyone instead?

Rocketeer said...

“There’s a point before the punchline where there’s a laugh. Listen again and you ought to see what Romano is referring to.”

I knew where the joke was going, and laughed before the punchline. Just because you’re slow on the uptake doesn’t mean everyone else is, Aja.

Robert Marshall said...

"There’s a point before the punchline where there’s a laugh. Listen again and you ought to see what Romano is referring to."

And, what? Ricky Gervais is guilty of bad-speak because someone laughed before he got to the punchline?

People often laugh before the punchline of a joke, perhaps because they can see what's coming. Or, perhaps because they're assholes. Either way, how is it Ricky Gervais's fault?

Pronoun-people are weird. They want us to conform our language to their own strange and very special rules, some of which violate the grammar we grew up adhering to (singular/plural pronoun/verb agreement), and others of which are just ridiculous ('xir'). They reject common gendered pronouns, yet get their backs up if you suggest a common non-gendered pronoun like 'it.' In other words, they nearly write the jokes for you.

Ridicule is how humans deal with ridiculous demands. If you don't want to be ridiculed, don't be ridiculous.

Poboy said...

After two years of The Left shouting for everyone to 'Believe the science' and then boldly saying that a man can get pregnant, while just as boldly refusing to define what constitutes a woman, Gervais making fun of them seems perfectly logical.

Iman said...

Gervais doesn’t go far enough.

Lurker21 said...

The "I don't care what people do behind closed doors" argument got a lot of traction in the late 20th century. Society could excuse all sorts of behavior with that line. But transsexuality and nonbinarism are about what people do and are in public. Therefore, the latest movement is very much concerned with how people react to unconventional people.

Society largely accepted homosexuality with the rationale that gay people were just like everyone else. The new movement appeals to people who are defiantly not like everyone else and wants the same acceptance for them and their behavior and self-image that society gives to other groups and individuals. It wants to loosen or cast off fundamental norms more than earlier movements wanted to.

It's hard to see how that could work, but also hard to see how Western society could be deflected from going in that direction. Probably some new crisis or catastrophe will happen and we will have to concentrate on that, rather than focus on gender identity.

Jupiter said...

"Society largely accepted homosexuality with the rationale that gay people were just like everyone else."

Actually, society largely accepted homosexuality because when we tried not to accept it, we were overruled by "elites".

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Gervais makes fun of religious people and "wacky" religious beliefs for years and no one in power minds--you bible thumpers need to learn to take a joke!
Gervais makes fun of "wacky" beliefs about transgender people once and everybody loses their minds.
Nice people simply can't stand for such things--that's blasphemy!

You nice liberal folks like to think you're beyond religion but you're stricter than the most uptight Puritan.

Gk1 said...

Its hilarious to watch liberals turn into the scolds and blue noses of the 1950's the hippies sought to overturn.

They don't realize they are orthodox and are pursuing the fool's errand of trying to control everyone's behavior. Sorry Homie don't play that. Get used to having comics and regular people mock your reverence for pervos and the mentally ill.

"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” Hubert Humphrey

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Make a thousand pedophile priest jokes and no one minds--make one transexual rapist joke and the outraged think pieces spray forth like water from a broken hydrant.

It's different when *our* ox is gored! Some things are too important--to sacred--to joke about. It's dangerous! Hate speech isn't free speech! And anyway it's just (clap) not (clap) funny!

Have you ever seen people embrace the stereotype/caricature of themselves as insistently as non-TERF feminists? That was the old, stupid joke, yeah?

How many feminists does it take to do x? That's not funny, misogynist!