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 racist.  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 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 whose 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.


John Heath said...

Having heard him describe clearly what happened, the article you are quoting is incorrect, and so therefore are the conclusions you're drawing from it.

She derailed his act and the audience turned on itself. She fucked the whole thing. No, people do not slide under tables. They boo, or they leave, or they sit quietly. They do not pull passive aggressive bullshit like this.

He asked her what was happening because he thought she was doing something funny, it was a hostile room that had had heckling and booing throughout the previous acts and he thought there would be some good crowd interaction to liven things up. Instead he got a lecture and it destroyed whatever atmosphere was there.

Note he immediately apologised to her when she said she found the rape reference unfunny. He offered to talk about it later.

Once people started yelling to and fro, he put the mike back in the stand and said she was a piece of shit and he hoped she died. Had he said, well, you fucked this show, thanks a lot, asshole, then there wouldn't be a problem. Big deal, he said I hope you die.

He didn't give her that response for her opinion that rape isn't funny. He did it because she destroyed the entire event by catalysing a shitstorm. She should have been an adult and either left or withheld applause. She wasn't the only heckler on the night, and hecklers are all assholes, but she's the one who trashed the show.

The reporting on this has been misleading.

Dina said...

John Heath,

Thank you for telling me the other side of the story. If what you say is true...then yeah, I think the woman was in the wrong.

I don't doubt at all that the article had misinformation. That tends to happen with news sources. It's hard to trust anything. But since I don't personally know you, I can't have full faith in your side of the story either.

Hell...even if I did know you personally, I probably wouldn't trust your story 100%

If I had a fight with my family and we both told the story, there would probably be two very different stories. Depending on what side we're on, we see, hear, and interpret things differently.

For example, the comedian might have felt he was being kind to the woman...apologizing and offering to talk about it later. The woman might have heard this, but believed he was doing it in a sarcastic way. Or she might have felt he was mocking her.

I don't know...

As they say, there are always two sides to every story. Often even more than that.