Anything to get a cheap laugh
Some comedians will do anything to get a cheap laugh. This hapless and hopeless truism was brought down to an even lower level recently for us, when we caught a TV program cohost talking to an old woman and trying to squeeze “humor” out of her sad recollections about her husband’s demise!
Most decent human beings would instructively know that they shouldn’t go there, but for the so-called funnyman, it seemed, nothing was sacred.
With a knowing wink to his cohost, he started by offering his sympathies, but soon tweaked the conversation back to the very hour of the deceased’s passing.
He asked the woman to recall that tragic moment in great detail, and even to repeat the words she said and the things she did as her husband died!
The clueless woman did as instructed, and some of the things she did and said came off as gauche and funny-peculiar, so the show’s viewers had a “good” time—at the poor woman’s expense!
Now, the culprit could probably say that he was not using the woman’s remembered grief to generate laughs, and that we could have been cynically misinterpreting the entire exchange.
But, the continuing titters and “knowing” winks that punctuated the interview affirmed our suspicion that something else that was unfortunate and reprehensible was going on.
We hope that other TV performers will think about this, see the danger signs for themselves, and use it as a clear teaching and learning point for them to not similarly cross the line to elicit laughter.
Yes, that’s their “job,” but its job description doesn’t include using people’s private pain and feelings to “successfully” entertain viewers.
As for our viewers, if some of them catch themselves laughing at similar scenes of emotional use and abuse, we pray that they will realize that something not right is happening, and stop enabling its injudicious perpetrators with their similarly clueless and insensitive laughter.
What about the woman in question and other people like her who find themselves on TV, being used and “played” for laughs by experts who mistakenly think that their private pain is fair game for their “entertaining” onslaughts?
They should protect and defend themselves from being used, by realizing that TV people can have all sorts of hidden motives, and shouldn’t be taken at “smiling face” value.
If they sense that they are being cynically manipulated for “entertainment’s” sake, they should immediately protest, “Huwag naman po—sa akin na po ‘yon—bakit niyo pinagagawa yon sa akin—nakakatawa ba ’yon? —Kung nangyari sa inyo ’yon, matutuwa at matatawa po ba kayo?”
—And, the plea that cuts to the heart of the shabbily opportunistic situation—“Res-peto naman po!”