We frequently see and hear comedy shows that make fun of women, children, disabled people and different races. For instance, women are often degraded in situations when men need to look stronger than them and as such ridicule them with comments about something considered a “women’s duty.” These comments almost always have some kind of sexual undertone and are further linked to a women’s prospects for the future – as if her future life(and marriage, as if they are the same thing) is in jeopardy because she is seen as inferior. Likewise, comedians have no qualms about imitating the disabled, painting a “black face,” or doing a “slant eye” gesture. But how do these things really make us feel? Are they actually funny or simply unpleasant? Should these really be considered jokes?
Viewers have protested strongly; however, the comedians explained that it was just comedy. Honestly, even if they had no such intention to be disrespectful, I think it’s not proper and right. I believe the purpose of humor is to give pleasure to somebody. Those situations do not make me laugh. Hearing or watching those types of “jokes” makes me uncomfortable, and even angry.
The reason I feel this way is that the subject of their mockery is social minorities. Social minorities are excluded and discriminated in every part of society including politics, economy, culture, and education. Also, they can become targets of crime easily. Discrimination and emotional pain that they suffer from must not be made a laughing stock. Nobody should be treated like that.
Furthermore, these remarks and behaviors have a bad ripple effect. For example, it creates prejudice and spreads negative images about minorities unconsciously. Some people watching that kind of comedy may not only have the perception that discrimination is fun and “cool,” but also think that discrimination is only a trivial matter. The more people have that perception, the less power the excluded have.
Someone may mention people with high social status. They may say that “Such people are used to being the subject of humor, too. What is the difference?” I say there is absolutely a difference. The majority is used to jokes, too, but those jokes are usually based on satirizing their power and unfairness. Surely, they are criticized, but they hardly lose their power. On the contrary, most minorities are insulted about everything like character, appearance, and behavior. Also, they get a bad image. Obviously, there is a significant difference between the two.
Then, what humor we can use instead? Look at Song En-i and Kim Suk. In order to make us laugh, they take funny episodes that they have experienced personally. They speak honestly but know the limits. For that reason, people feel comfortable with their jokes. Kim Suk tells jokes breaking social standards, which allows us to feel satisfied. There is another example, Lee Yeong-ja. Her passion for food elicits many laughs from viewers.
These comedians have become good examples of how to use humor without expressing hate and hurting others. Actually, these jokes don’t occur to comedians just by themselves. They constantly try to produce new content to make viewers laugh. When they produce their programs, they may think again and again how to make fun without offending their audience’s feelings. In these good instances, we realize that the jokes hurting others are caused by other comedians who have less concern and do not consider other people’s feeling.
As I mentioned above, humor must create laughter and make people feel delighted. Accordingly, I believe that encouraging hate is not to be taken lightly. It is time to recognize that hurtful jokes are not humor, but verbal violence. To change this tendency, we need to make a law related to this problem, and consumers should boycott such programs. However, the most important thing is changing the attitudes of content producers. They need to understand other’s feelings, notice that such rude jokes are a problem, and stop. As such, our contemporary tendencies towards humor can be slowly changed slowly.