Did supposedly “racist” comedy segment need to be pulled from Fox-owned Fuel TV?

By | September 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm | No comments | Opinion, TV/Movies | Tags: , , ,

In another instance of political correctness in comedy being taken way too far, Fuel TV had to pull a sports segment due to offending the Asian American community. Comedian Bob Oschack went out as a “man on the street” to interview Asian college students at the University of Southern California about the new inclusion of Colorado and Utah into the newly formed PAC-12. None of the students seem to have any idea what Oschack was talking about. Several of them could barely speak English.

Is that honestly all that surprising? If Oschack had interviewed any number of groups based on ethnicity, religion or special interests, on the USC campus, he would have gotten the same response. In fact, there are several Caucasian native English speakers that go to USC that would have had pretty much the same reaction as those Asian students. That might sound like sweeping generalizations, but, as an Asian American and a USC alumni, I assure you that they’re not. Also, being part of the incredibly specific demographic that the segment is poking fun of, I have absolutely no resentment over any of it. Still, the network was overly apologetic.

“We sincerely apologize to President Nikias and the entire USC community for the production and posting of the video,” Lou D’Ermilio, a Fox spokesperson, said. “The context was clearly inappropriate and the video was removed as soon as we became aware of it. We will review our editorial process to determine where the breakdown occurred, and we will take steps to ensure something like this never happens again.”

Even with the intention of the humor being how Asian students aren’t, perhaps, as knowledgeable about the newest developments in collegiate sports conferences as much as dedicated sports fans, there is nothing accusatory beyond that. In fact, at no point in the clip does Oschack say anything explicitly about anybody being Asian, how that would relate their opinions on college sports and how that might make them better or worse. The only insult that Oschack does overtly level is the one towards FuelTV, the cable channel that shot and aired the piece.

Whatever your opinion of how funny the clip is, it’s certainly an incredibly small matter to get horribly offended over. Even if the segment had gone further and made fun of broad and overused Asian stereotypes like not being able to drive or mispronouncing L’s and R’s, it’s still a joke. As Katt Williams explained a few days ago on CNN, though he may joke about race in an aggressive way, he is not “anti-Mexican” and has a deep appreciation for his Hispanic fans. More importantly, what’s more offensive to me — as a comedian — is if someone gets on TV and jokes about race and isn’t funny about it.

About the Author

Jake Kroeger

Jake Kroeger has dedicated his life, for better or probably worse, to comedy. Starting and continually running the Comedy Bureau, a voice for LA comedy, by himself, he also writes and performs stand-up comedy in LA and watches more live comedy than is probably humanly tolerable. He's been a daily contributor to Punchline Magazine, now Laughspin.com because he loves and believes in comedy so much. Said of Kroeger, "...without his dangerously insane, unhealthy work ethic, certain comics would not have any press at all."

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