To laugh or be offended? A defence of Seth Macfarlane
|I reckon Seth Macfarlane was actually pretty |
damn funny as the Oscars host
I was happy to do it; I’m relatively confident talking in front of lots of people and had done the job several times before.
About halfway through the reception, I tried to keep the ‘good times’ flowing by telling a joke.
This isn’t my normal style of humour; most of the time I rely on making dry observations and throwing them into the conversation. I often use so-called witty one liners as well (well, I think they’re witty anyway).
So, I told the joke and then every comedian’s worst nightmare followed. Nobody even cracked a smile. You could hear a pin drop.
In short, nobody found my joke even remotely funny. It didn’t help that I told it completely wrong and missed out on an absolutely key detail, but still, people just didn’t find it funny.
On other occasions though, I’ll tell a joke that people just don’t find very funny. In fact, this happens far too often (mostly because my jokes actually aren’t that funny).
Seldom have I told a joke that actually offends people though, but if you’re even vaguely famous, try telling a joke these days. Because you’re basically guaranteed that someone, somewhere, will get offended by it.
It happens to politicians. Labor Minister Mark Butler made a joke about Sydney suburb Rooty Hill on Adelaide radio and was quickly condemnded by everyone living in Rooty Hill (you’ve got to admit though; it’s a pretty funny name).
Barack Obama swatted a fly live in an interview once and was quickly lambasted by PETA.
However, I reckon the best example in recent times of this happening was on Monday night when Seth Macfarlane hosted the Oscars.
In fact, Macfarlane knew before he even began that he was going to annoy people. His opening monologue predicted it too.
Furthermore, hosting the Oscars is one of the toughest gigs going around. It’s the most harshly judged comedic performance of someone’s career.
That said, I reckon Macfarlane was pretty damn funny; but none of the critics seemed to think so.
The most outspoken critic I could find was the Huffington Post and Buzz Feed, which I’m quite certain needs to go and get a sense of humour. This editorial piece, for example, takes a number of lines and ridicules them as being overtly sexist.
My take is that the Huffington Post needs to lighten up. His joke about Zero Dark Thirty as an example of a woman’s innate ability to never let anything go was pretty funny! Yet the Post leapt on this as him being too sexist.
Heck even his joke about Kim Kardashian as having facial hair was decried as being sexist!
I think people need to lighten up. I laughed at the Kardashian joke because it’s absurd and stupid, not because of some misogynistic desire to belittle women.
Of course there was some other pretty funny stuff he did. His Von Trapp family singers joke was actually hilarious. I really enjoyed that bit.
Also, his introduction of Meryl Streep was brilliant.
So, everyone, chill out a little please. While you may not have found Macfarlane funny, there’s no need to get offended so quickly. So go and make yourself a cup of tea and try and have a bit of a laugh.