Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ray Badran's Response

I'm reading an article about an incident at the Melbourne comedy festival.

A comedian named Ray Badran made a joke about rape. I don't really get the joke.

He said:  So you know how gay people can make jokes about being gay, and black people can make jokes about being black, well I can make jokes about rape.

The article says the joke implies that he LOOKS like a rapist.  I would say it implies that he IS a rapist. I thought the unwritten rule was that you can make jokes about your own people, and if people outside your group tried the same joke, they'd get themselves in trouble.  I don't think it counts if you simply look like you're in the group. I'm allowed to make certain Jewish jokes because I AM Jewish. I've had people tell me I look Persian and Indian. I don't think that gives me a special free pass to get away with certain jokes about those groups.

Whatever. I'm going off on a tangent here.

I personally don't find the joke funny, probably mostly because I don't get it. It confuses me.

As for it being offensive...I don't know. I'm sure it's slightly offensive to some people and very offensive to other people. But the thing about comedy is, most jokes are going to offend some people. They'll make some people angry. They'll make some people uncomfortable. They'll make some people very sad.  I think if comedians worked hard to make sure not to offend anyone, we'd lose a lot of comedy in this world.  I think the laughter in our world would decrease. And I believe that would be unfortunate.

What I'm trying to say is though I don't personally like Ray Badran's joke, I'm not going to fault him on it.  I am, however, going to heavily fault him on his response to a woman who disliked his joke.

The article doesn't say she heckled him. Apparently, when he told the joke she slid off her chair and under the table as a sign of protest. I've never heard of anyone responding that way. Is it a thing that people do? Anyway, it seems like a peaceful, quiet way to let the comedian and the rest of the audience know you are offended.

According to the protester, Badran then started speaking to her.  He said,
What's your problem? Seriously, what's this girl's problem? Oh wait, you probably shouldn't ask someone who just called out a rape joke what their problem is. 

The joke is one thing.  Personally attacking the girl in public is inexcusable. Ray Badran sounds like a bully to me.  I mean isn't that one of the main things bullies do, humiliate people in front of an audience. I really hope no one laughed along with him. I hope he was booed off the stage.

Well, according to the article, he walked off the stage and said, Good on you for taking a stand, but you're a piece of sh*t and I hope you die. 

Ray Badran's response reminds me of the writers I've heard about on GoodReads. They can't handle bad reviews, and when they get one, they'll attack the reader who wrote the review.  It's very unprofessional and immature.

And....his response also reminds me of bloggers I've encountered. They are unable to handle peaceful disagreements and/or criticism; and they react with verbally violent abuse.

Why didn't Badran just go on with his show and ignore the woman under the table?  I mean really. If you're a comedian, isn't dealing with negative audience reaction part of the job—booing, heckling, people walking out, people turning their backs, people playing on their phones instead of listening to you, people yawning, people staring and not laughing.....

I was feeling very mean when I started writing this post. I didn't plan to go as far as Badran did and wish death upon someone. But I was going to say I wish his career ended here. Now, though, I'm feeling a bit kinder.  I wish him a good career, but I also wish that he gains a bit more emotional strength and stability.  I hope he learns to accept that not everyone is going to love all of his jokes, and if they protest in a decent way, I hope he gains the ability to peacefully accept that.  And if criticism does cause him emotional strain...that's fine too.  But I hope he'll learn to deal with his feelings in a way that doesn't cause harm to others. He can cry about it at home. Get his anger out by playing a video game. Vent to a friend. Write a short story about it. Eat too much ice-cream.  There are many ways to deal with negative emotions that don't involve hurting others.