Some humor is not funny

Columnist and Columnist

The world was abuzz Monday morning following this year’s Academy Awards, but most of the chatter was decisively negative.

In case you missed it, the show opened with a song called “We Saw Your Boobs,” which rattled off a list of actresses, many present in the audience, who have done nude scenes in movies.

Four of them were rape scenes.

Thus began an extremely uncomfortable telecast thanks to host Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy”.

Amy Davidson of The New Yorker wrote, “The women were not showing their bodies to amuse Seth MacFarlane but, rather, to do their job…You girls think you’re making art, the Academy, through MacFarlane, seemed to say, we got you to undress. The joke’s on you.”

While most of the night’s jokes were aimed at actresses (including one sexualizing 9 year-old nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), MacFarlane also managed to make racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic jokes, not to mention his making light of eating disorders, rape and domestic violence.

While many viewers took to the internet to express their shock at the off-putting telecast, I can’t say I’m too surprised.

After all, what was the Academy thinking when they hired MacFarlane to host?

This type of “humor” has long been his shtick, so what did they expect would happen?

At the time this is written, there has been no issued apology or comment by the Academy addressing the swarms of complaints online.

In my opinion, there’s no point in tuning in next year if viewers will endure another painful 3+ hours of the same thing.

The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber wrote about MacFarlane, “So much of comedy is about the shock of recognition, of seeing some previously unacknowledged truth suddenly acknowledged, but the only recognition MacFarlane offered was that some people say dumb things about other peoples’ gender/racial/sexual identities. Which of course, should not be shocking at all.”

I agree with Kornhaber and wish more comedians would stop trying to be “edgy” like MacFarlane by delivering tasteless, unfunny blows to the actors the show is supposed to be appreciating and instead follow the examples of comedians who have given hilarious and unforgettable performances without having to stoop to that level.

Two comedians who proved perfectly able to rock a hosting job without offending half or more of the audience and millions of viewers at home were Amy Poehler and Tina Fey during last month’s Golden Globe awards.

During the show, Poehler joked that Ben Affleck’s first movie took place in Boston but he shot his most recent one in Iran because it’s friendlier to outsiders.

Fey told Taylor Swift to stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son.

We heard genuine laughter from the audience last month at the Golden Globes and low, nervous laughter at the Oscars on Sunday.

Kornhaber said in his post, “[P]unchlines about the Jews cutting non-Jews out of Hollywood, snickers about women faking the flu to lose weight and cracks that there’s no need to try and understand what Selma Hayek’s saying because she’s so hot…It’s a free country, etc. But that doesn’t mean those jokes aren’t hurtful, obvious or dumb. The more we pass off old stereotypes rooted in hate as normal, the longer those stereotypes and their ability to harm people will be in place.”

To quote William Shatner as James. T. Kirk at the Oscars Sunday night, “Why couldn’t they just get Tina and Amy to host the show?”

Respond to Emily at

[email protected]