Off-Limits to Comedians?
Comedy can bring us together for an hour or two; furnishing genuine laughter and generating community. But comedians can occupy the dual role of community builder and values challenger.
Some people hope for values-challenging comedy, while others clearly do not. Every year or two, some famous comedian tells an insensitive joke which goes viral. To the casual observer this brings up several questions. Most prominently: Are ANY topics off-limits to comedians?
Censorship in the arts has long been a divisive topic. Some say that the art community should allow itself to be guided, so as to better reflect a communal standard. Others argue that comedy and all creative forms of expression should not be constrained. But even the most ardent anti-censorship advocate can be offended by a joke. Have we simply become too sensitive?
There's not an answer that will please everyone. We're blessed with individual taste, and we express those through our differing levels of tolerance and knowledge of the arts. But our agency's values allows us to SIMPLIFY THE ISSUE WHEN PROGRAMMING COMEDY. Here's how:
If you go to see a comedian at a public venue, we feel that you relinquish the right to disrupt the show simply to advocate for your tonal preferences. You've already agreed with everyone else that the comedian is the one to be heard. Being offended despite the 'no-limits' nature of a public venue, is your right. But ruining the experience for others in attendance, is not.
BUT...if the comedian comes to YOUR community, for a party, a private club, a community event or a professinal conference, then if the comedian has agreed to accommodate the tone you request, that's a sacred obligation! Just make it clear before the show is hired.
Art needs experimental places to develop. You have a right to say 'no experimenting here'. But the artist has a right to charge you for the privilege; even to turn you down.
But also the comedian must be past the apprentice stage and know the difference between the self-indulgent comedy club stage and the professional work situation of a private-group booking.
Sometimes a private community won't place any restrictions on the comedian. That's great for the comedian! But when the group DOES have special needs, the comedian must NOT indulge himself in violation of their contract.
So, is there a limit to comedy? Yes and no.
Anything can be made into a joke. What makes the joke acceptable though is knowing the context, and for the comedian to exercise some good taste.
A comedian who makes it 'more humor than insult' is halfway to acceptability. Sensitive topics are potentially messy, but when done correctly, they can be potent and make a statement. But the most important caution to convey is this: Dear comedian...are you in THEIR house? If so...behave!
Contact us at KB Entertainment. Our comedian booking agency will find the perfect comedian for your audience and for your event type.