Should people be coming down on comedians for making inappropriate jokes a long time ago?
That was the question “The View’s” Joy Behar asked Leslie Jones, who said it’s something people should never do.
“It’s so stupid,” she stated. “It’s just so dumb. I been doing comedy since 1986. You look back, y’all gonna see so much inappropriate … You can’t hold me accountable for what I said in 1987. I wasn’t smart. I’m so happy social media wasn’t happening in my 20s. I would be the comeback kid. Ya’ll would be saying, ‘Ooo, she’s so respectable now.’”
Behar’s question comes days after “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah received backlash for a joke he made about indigenous Australian women in 2013.
During his routine, he said that “all women of every race can be beautiful.” Then said “And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’”
Afterwards, he mimicked the sound of a long, wooden instrument called a didgeridoo and compared it to an indigenous Australian woman. From there, he said “It’s not always about looks.”
It didn’t take long for some well-known people from the indigenous Australian community to blast Noah, like the retired rugby player Joe Williams, who called his joke “utterly unacceptable.”
“As a man of color you are usually in point with racism and divide,” he wrote. “Here you are perpetrating and encouraging racial abuse.”
And author Dr. Anita Heiss called for Australians to boycott Noah’s shows when he visits the country in the near future. She also said his joke wasn’t funny and it caused damage.
Noah has since apologized and vowed to never make the joke again.
“After visiting Australia’s Bunjilaka museum and learning about aboriginal history first hand, I vowed never to make a joke like that again. And I haven’t,” he wrote.
In regards to Jones, she believes Noah and other comedians shouldn’t be judged so harshly, since it’s their job to be controversial and make people laugh.
“Stop holding comedians to this standard,” she said. “Our job is to make the ugliest stuff funny. That’s our job. We are court jesters, we are clowns, that’s what we do. We come out and make this terrible situation laughable. Unless you want to cry for the rest of your life, you want to cry? We can cry if you want to.”
“I want to laugh. Laughter brings joy, laughter brings endorphins, laughter brings contagiousness,” added Jones. “People love me so much because I have an energy of happiness. I want everybody to laugh and the best way to conquer pain is laughter … So let comedians do their job. You’re not letting comedians do their job and you’re miserable.”
“Because laughter is a release that you are now cutting off. Stop walking around so offended. You’re not gonna be able to survive life if you walk around offended,” she explained.
You can see the conversation below at the 2:34 mark.