There’s red-line to Jokes

You may wish to hate Islam, but Muslims’ strict interpretation of a blasphemy teaches us how not to mess up with any person who is dear to someone. In a movie and entertainment industry, many religious beliefs and figures especially biblical characters are caricatured, but I bet you, no one can ever dare to satirise Koran nor Mohammed. What is dear to people is like a football; it may be immaculate white, but once you allow it on the ground or close to clowns, they will kick it.

Through the thunderous slap heard around the world on Sunday March 27, 2022, actor Will Smith showed that there is a red line is sarcasm. Smith stunned the star-studded audience plus billions watching at home when he took to the stage and smacked Chris Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss at the 2022 Oscar.

“Jada, I love you” the comedian said from the stage, quipping, “G. I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, “referring to the actress” buzzed head, as G. I Jane star Demi Moore wore a similar style. Pinkett Smith, 50, has often been open about losing her hair due to alopecia.

Yes, Smith did not make a right choice; he admitted that his action was “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and has consequently resigned from Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. However, the truth is that our hurt conversion levels are different. Not everyone can quickly convert insults into jokes and smiles.

Some smiles aren’t even smiles but expressive gestures to hide deep hurts. In fact, Smith did smile, but his heart was pounding outside of his suit. He went through waves of emotions laughing at a caricature that was not funny at all. As he watched, his heart left to the stage before the body later joined to form a fist that did the damage.

As the comedy industry grows and many clowns get saturated with jokes to keep fans, comedians are invading people’s privacy, joking about their biological and medical conditions. The amputees, the blind, the deaf, the epileptics, stammers, and other people with one form of physical and mental disabilities are easily turned on and made prawns in today’s comedy shows. There are also memes stickers and gifs of people with medical conditions and different forms of syndromes circulating online for fun. Have we wondered what those or their families go through seeing us make fun of their health conditions?

As a child born with a unique eye and skin colour, I had doses of caricatures, bullies and insults from peers, all arising from my biological givens. Even in Europe, I can’t count how many times I have been called a “Mullate” a German word for “mulatto”, an outdated term which refers to people of mixed African and European ancestry. Today, I find it funny that girls are fixing the same eye colour which I was caricatured for having years back.

A physically impaired person once told me that being reminded of the things he could no longer do was more painful than his disability. What do clowns do on the stage? They rehearse the pains of people who already emotionally traumatised. Yes, you need to feel a hurt to know it. It is high time we censured what people do in the name of comedy. Smith may have resigned, but he has started the censorship.