Kentaro Kobayashi got fired from his job as Creative Director of the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics for making an inappropriate joke in 1998.
That might seem rather harsh, he was a young comedian going for – in his words – “cheap laughs”, but the joke was about the holocaust, and if you are going to make racist jokes, you have to accept that that comes at a price.
He apologised: “It should never be the job of an entertainer to make people feel uncomfortable.”
I think comedians should make people feel uncomfortable but only if the people are deserving of it, which we all are sometimes (our hypocrisy should be exposed and mocked), but we should not be made to feel uncomfortable because of our ethnicity or gender or religion or whatever.
I aspire to be both an anti-racist person and a forgiving person, so I’m not quite sure where that leaves me in Kobayashi’s case, but I tend to be more willing to forgive mistakes if something has been learnt, and we all have a youth dotted with things we’d rather forget.
Well, I should only speak for myself, although I am lucky to have grown up before everything was videoed and put on TikTok, so I can (and will) deny a lot of it.
As with Kobayashi, my use of humour has been a source of workplace blunders over the years.Continue reading “Humour is often about misunderstandings, so don’t complain if you’re misunderstood”