A couple of weeks ago I saw the new documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Remember? That was the night I tried to charge the couple next to me the price of admission because they talked through the whole damn movie.
I absolutely loved that film. I saw it by myself, but it's a great date movie because it presents many points for discussion (afterward, not during).
I have tremendous respect for Joan Rivers; she was a groundbreaking female comic who held her own among the big boys in what continues to be a male-dominated playground. As Kathy Griffin says at one point, “There’s literally a handful of women who have done this.”
Kathy Griffin. Oy. I'll save her for another time.
Admittedly, Joan Rivers can be funny as hell; there are many laugh-out-loud moments in the film. But I'm not a huge fan because I often think she's mean-spirited. Sometimes she's positively vicious on the red carpet, and in her stand-up act as well, like when she cracks the line, “Gay men are proud of their excessive body hair… like Madonna’s daughter.”
Yikes--do you really have to pick on a 13-year-old kid?
I was telling my friend Susan about this. Her response was, "So that's where you draw the line, huh? Jokes about kids?"
Hmmm, I guess so. I didn't even know I had a line. I have a pretty high tolerance, especially for the politically incorrect. Polish, Italian, Jewish, Canadian, Irish, b-l-a-c-k... I've laughed heartily at jokes about them all, I'm not gonna lie. Bad language? Please. There's only one word I would never use (it's something you can say on TV, but I hate it), but God knows everything else has rolled off this tongue.
So why do I think Joan Rivers is a bully when it comes to Madonna's daughter, yet only right now as I'm writing this do I realize that line also cracks on gays, which evidently is not bothering me a bit? Do I have such a high tolerance because I'm not gay, or old enough, or fat enough, or have enough of any ethnic blood to take offense? BTW, I never do material like that when I perform; as you probably know, I'm more the self-deprecating type. (But I'm not above laughing at it.)
Humor is so subjective, no? I know I've said things right here that some people found offensive and others found hysterical--remember my great idea for a reality show? I guess we all have our tipping point.
So where do you draw the line? When a joke is no longer a joke?