What you’re currently reading is a blog. It is written by a human who has the privilege of writing a big bunch of whatever and publishing it on the internet.
People often joke that, “Just because it’s on the internet that doesn’t make it true.”
But, for some reason, when a person writes a blog about a famous comedian who did something “offensive,” other people– including members of the press– accept that blogger’s perspective as sacred. Every word should be believed, as written. It’s flawless documentation!
You can’t use the contents of one blog as a reference to build a Wikipedia page, but somehow you can use it to tear down a comedian’s entire career. People who don’t know the comedian, and didn’t witness the event, start protests and boycotts and demanding social change based on a faceless blogger’s unsubstantiated story.
Michael Richards video? Well, that’s different.
In a country stuffed with courtroom television and “innocent until proven guilty” and not-enough-evidence-to-convict, I can’t understand why people would so willingly put their faith in the words of one blogger. And I can’t help but fight against the notion that the claims of a stranger hold more weight than a comedian’s entire reputation.
When people got mad at Tracy Morgan about some event recalled by an offended blogger, I took Tracy’s side.
When people got mad at Patton Oswalt about some event recalled by an offended blogger, I took Patton’s side.
When people got mad at Dane Cook about some event tweeted by another famous comedian, I took Dane’s side.
Now, people are mad at Daniel Tosh about some hearsay event, written by one random blogger on behalf of “her friend.” …Guess whose side I’m on?
Comedy is delicate. It only exists in a single moment. Good comedians can recreate funny moments, to an extent, as a way to get an audience to respond. But, every audience is different and no recreation is ever quite the same. So, the best a comedian can hope for is a certain level of consistency. There is no hope for perfection, even among the most talented.
When an audience member doesn’t find something funny, you can bet that their recollection and recreation of the event isn’t going to perfect. And it isn’t going to be funny, either, even if they recall the dialogue with word for word precision. Lenny Bruce successfully argued that point in a court of law after a humorless police officer recited Bruce’s material. The officer did not have the timing, inflection, or talent to make the material funny. The officer didn’t even understand why it might be funny. So, why should a jury believe the officer’s testimony? They shouldn’t.
When people blog, vlog, and HuffPo their opinions about some event, and their position is based on one single account written by one bias blogger, they build an entire case on substandard evidence. Everything becomes hearsay and public opinion is founded on individual emotion and ethereal rumor.
In the end, this blog post is just as true as anything else you’ve read on the subject of offensive comedians, so how about you just believe me?