It's not "offensive" humor that bothers me, it's spite and malevolence that I'm against. Humor is a bit like sex: it's fun when it takes place between two consenting adults but if one party has power over the other, or one party is under the age of consent or simply not capable of consent than the sexual conduct becomes rape. Making fun of someone who has power over you is bold and edgy, but there is nothing courageous, edgy or iconoclastic about mocking someone with less power or authority.
Erika, from The Flight of Our Hummingbird
It's very rare for me to put together a blog post just to suggest to anyone that they should go straight over and read a blog post on another site, but in this case I felt compelled.
Erika writes with extraordinary clarity and precision about why saying, "but it's just a joke" is no excuse for laughing at people less able to defend themselves.
It also reminds me of a superb routine by the comedian, Stewart Lee, about another comedian, Russell Howard (a young, hip, cool comedian in the UK, known for his appearances on a TV show called "Mock The Week"). For more on that, follow this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HElBqek9Ybc.
You only need to watch the first 2 minutes 36 seconds to get the point. Stewart Lee is not for everyone. His comedy routines are often deconstructing and undermining comedy routines - not only of other comedians, but of himself, while he's doing it. He makes me laugh hysterically, but I'm aware that most struggle with him, so don't feel obliged to watch any further than 2 minutes 36 seconds.
Meanwhile, if you've ever struggled with why some jokes make you laugh and some just make you feel uncomfortable, then pop over to Erika's for one of the best pieces of writing I've read on the topic