December 29th, 2011

Another show, another fat joke

Here I am, watching Jack Whitehall on E4 who I find absolutely hilarious and within his material is of course a section of fat jokes, one that struck me in particular was on the labelling of food, that we should do it like we do cigarettes and cake should have “have a photo of a fat woman crying, coming empty handed out of Topshop”.

I then saw a mini rant on twitter about the same joke which this person clearly took a lot of offence to, in how it was offensive, hurtful and belittling.  But is this really any different to the endless amount of racist, political, ageist and every other joke out there?

I personally don’t think so, I really think you can take a joke too seriously and you can also take a topic too seriously too. In fact, from my experience some of the most powerful health awareness campaigns out there are fronted by comedians or take a jovial approach to the issue which it is talking about.

Yes there is such a thing as a comedian taking it too far, but if they can’t poke fun out of stuff, what can they actually be funny about. It is a completely different story if this sort of thing is directed at an individual, it then becomes offensive in my eyes, but from this standpoint I seriously see nothing wrong with it.

Does the fact I laughed at it make me a bad person? Does it make me any less passionate about the causes that I work with? Well no I don’t think it does, it just means I found something completely jovial rather funny!

Sometimes, I think people can be so wrapped in their causes that they fail to see the funny side of something which is there to be taken in complete jest. I also feel it would be rather silly of me to say that fat jokes should be banned from TV, because then we would have to ban anything which anyone would consider mildly offensive and we would end up with a 2 hour show of a comedian standing still, randomly blinking.

More importantly, I think that we wouldn’t find these things offensive if we were comfortable with ourselves as a whole. So instead of concentrating anger on things which are at the end of the day meant to be funny we should look at things which damage people more, diet advertising, airbrushing, pressures we feel to fit into a mould.

My message from this one is simple, sometimes people just need to chill out and look at the bigger picture.