When will comedians ever learn?
Proving yet again that colleges are no places for purveyors of humor, student organizers at a Columbia University event kicked off the stage a comedy writer from the long-running show “Saturday Night Live” after he told some “offensive” jokes.
Nimesh Patel was interrupted by members of the Columbia Asian American Alliance about 30 minutes into his routine at the AAA’s “cultureSHOCK: Reclaim” gig. He was, however, “provided” an opportunity to offer closing comments before his exit.
According to the Columbia Spectator, the joke that crossed the line was about a gay black man from Patel’s old neighborhood: “No one looks in the mirror and thinks, ‘this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.’”
Patel did not go quietly, however. He said he “stood in solidarity with Asian American identities” and that “none of his remarks were offensive.” He added he merely was “exposing the audience to ideas that would be found ‘in the real world.’”
He then had his microphone cut.
Adam Warren, CC ‘22, was in the audience Friday night. Warren said that AAA made the right decision to remove Patel from the stage due to the nature of his jokes, which contradicted the sensitive nature of the event itself.
“The message they were trying to send with the event was opposite to the jokes he was making, and using people’s ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive…He definitely wasn’t the most crass comedian I’ve ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate,” Warren said.
However, audience member Elle Ferguson, BC ‘22, said that while comedians can push the boundaries of social culture, she had heard similar jokes before and did not find them offensive.
“While what some of the things that he said might have been a bit provoking to some of the audience, as someone who watches comedy a lot, none of them were jokes that I hadn’t heard before and none of them were jokes that elicited such a response in my experience,” Ferguson said. “[AAA] should have talked to him beforehand especially because comedy is known for being ground-breaking and for pushing boundaries.”
Student Sofia Jao took issue with Patel’s closing comments.
“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world,” she said. “When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it’s like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer.”
He’s. A. Comedian!!!!