“What is it about being blind that it makes you want to walk the dog the whole time?”

“When it comes to environment, it’s not us but our children and our children’s children that will pay for our mistakes, which is a relief.”

These are some of the least edgy jokes by stand up comic Jimmy Car, which make us question our moral compass.

In the modern day, offensive comedy and black comedy are used to take a dig at the absurd notions of today’s society. And as observed, they are inclined towards compelling the audience to think about sensitive topics such as tragedies and prejudice and other matters pertaining to political or social aspects, by presenting it in a satirical or inappropriate way, crafted cleverly to be capable of making one smile/laugh.

However, these genres of comedies despite being quite popular through cartoons such as Rick and Morty, The Simpsons, South Park and of course, our beloved, Family Guy, and other forms such as stand-comedy and internet memes have not always been hailed by some of the audience for their transphobic, racist, sexist and other such ridiculous and exaggerated depictions of ethnic groups and countries.

So, who decides what’s funny? and what’s politically incorrect? Does being a comedian give one the privilege of “crossing the line”? And if there’s a line that should not be crossed in comedy, where is it?

People claim, a comedian joking about race, religion, sex, rape and genocides is not funny and must be censored. However, as observed in most scenarios, people are surprisingly okay with a black person making jokes about black people, a transgender person making jokes on sexuality and victims of rape making rape jokes, whilst a white person or a “person of privilege” or a person who is not a victim of any form of abuse is statistically more likely to get into trouble for making a joke on these aspects. So as observed, it’s not just about the joke, the speaker’s identity also happens to play a role in determining where the line is.

Now before one might pin all this conflict on the west and its inhabitants, let’s take a moment to acknowledge how Bollywood and many other Indian film industries continue to portray transgenders and the LGBTQIA+ community in a negative light as queer objects and as the base of dehumanizing jokes. I would not say that the film industries are the sole reason why people may find it hard to come out of the closet but it does make it quite harder by building upon pre-existing stigma at a large scale and raising insecurities among the trans communities.

On a different note, it is absurd how the Tollywood blockbuster “Jalsaa”, starring Pawan Kalyan, got away with so many rape jokes. If I had 100 bucks for every time Sanjay Sahu said a rape joke, I’d have more than enough cash to afford therapy. There are plenty other movies with similar aspects of de-sensitizing serious issues ranging from stalking to suicides. The only line of defence for these “jokes” is that they are “jokes” and are meant to be not taken seriously.

While some people argue that comedy should be free of any and all restrictions, others contend that it’s not funny making jokes on such sensitive issues as some can be particularly triggering. There is another section of the audience which is open to a more “moderated” comedy and is willing to let a few jokes slide as long as they are not highly inappropriate.

So, again, who decides what’s appropriate? As it happens, there are over five billion people on the internet and there is not a single topic that we can all collectively agree upon. And with the cancel culture attracting quite a lot of people, every time a comic says something remotely controversial the internet acts as the self-appointed judge, jury and executioner.

Now one might claim that surely comics and cartoons could just “tone it down” and not use such sensitive topics as material for their jokes and that would solve the issues. However, it is not always just about the content that comedians use. It is also about how people interpret what the comedian is saying and the content being delivered.

One popular example of this is when Ellen DeGeneres got into trouble for one of her tweets in 2016. Ellen tweeted out a photoshopped image of her piggy-backing on Usain Bolt, who had then won a gold medal in Rio Olympics and was caught up as meme fodder, captioned “This is how I’m running errands from now on. #Rio2016”. What was meant to be a funny tweet centred around Bolt’s speed quickly faced backlash as people interpreted it as a white person riding on a black person and deemed it to be highly inappropriate. So, should something be redacted every time someone sees it in a negative light?

Some people claim offensive humour and black comedy can be very triggering for victims and is just a glorified form of bullying, which is more or less true. To this, comedians and others who enjoy edgy humour have responded with “It’s funny though……” or “It’s just a joke”.

We’re not necessarily bad people for laughing and enjoying this edgy humour. Because often when we listen to these dark jokes, we’re laughing at the absurdity and ridicule of the joke, instantly followed by a realisation of the depth of the notion and then comes the pangs of guilt (proof that you still have empathy). So yeah, that’s a good way to put your moral compass to test under extreme conditions. It goes without saying that we do not support any forms of violence or .

And regarding where “I” think we should draw the line? Well, that’s something all of us would never agree with……

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