We know people like to overreact.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point where people search for things to overreact to.
So that’s why, whenever something is labeled as controversial, one has to dig deep and figure out if there truly is any real controversy. Because often times, there isn’t.
This week’s subject? Chris Rock.
The comedian hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend for the first time since he was fired from the show in 1993. Now, comics on SNL are always an interesting thing. Because the show customarily starts with a monologue. For an actor, or singer, that means they’ll usually sing a song. Everybody loves a song.
But for a comedian, the common sense thing is to do stand up. In fact, comedians probably feel the most natural delivering an SNL monologue than any other type of celebrity. Because they’re doing the only thing they know: making a live audience laugh.
The problem is that he’s not delivering his brand of humor to his target audience. These aren’t people who paid to see a Chris Rock show. They’re privileged people who had connections to Saturday Night Live. Either that, or they just came to see Prince, who killed it as the musical guest, might I add.
Any avid fans of comedy know that anything is fair game. Murder, rape, terrorism, racism … these are all topics that comedians waste no time biting into. I’m not saying I approve of it, but, that’s just how it’s always been. It’s just not something you see on national television, but rather, in a comedy club.
But on one of the grandest of live stages in our country, Chris Rock went there. His monologue included jokes that related to the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as 9-11.
9-11 jokes. In New York City.
It was really uncomfortable for me to watch because his jokes only evoked a round of nervous chuckles from the audience, and not the raucous laughter one usually expects. I had to turn it off. What most offended me was not necessarily the subject of the jokes — I just didn’t find them all that funny. If you’re going to go that route, you have to at least knock it out of the park.
Rock’s material revolved around the 9-11 museum, which is controversial in itself, and voiced his surprise that the museum (or 9-11 in general) has yet to be commercialized. “We’re only five years away from 9-11 sales,” he said. “‘Come on down to Red Lobster. These shrimp are nine dollars and 11 cents!”
Again, I’m not particularly offended. But I am surprised that a show so steeped in New York City culture even permitted such jokes to be made.
And to top it all of, Rock, with other cast members, did an ISIS sketch later in the show! To be fair, the skit, which involved ISIS militants going on the show “Shark Tank,” was actually funny.
Since Chris Rock is a comedy legend, who’s made a living touching upon political commentary in his humor, I think it’ll all blow over.
But, as far as SNL monlogues go, I don’t think it’s safe to say that Chris Rock ‘rocked’ it.
I really hope that failed joke blows over, too.