Sunday, November 21, 2010
Katt Williams' Comedy Act on Latinos
The above video, of a comedy act by Katt Williams reminded me of our class discussion on when it is okay to utilize racist portrayals in stand-up. I remember from class that some people felt it was acceptable for black comedians to use racial stereotypes in their acts, while other people thought it was just wrong, and I was curious how people would feel about this video. While watching the video I did laugh at some things, but since I don't generally like Katt Williams, I wondered if I wasn't laughing partially because I was uncomfortable or prompted by the audience. While I did see his act as a gross exaggeration of Latino stereotypes, I think that that is precisely why some people are not automatically offended by Williams', and other comedians, acts. Specifically, when something is so exaggerated that it is hard to apply it to anyone you know personally, it becomes nothing more than a caricature of society's ridiculous assumption.
Also, it helped that Katt was making fun of black and white people in his act, too. I feel it would be harder to ignore the racist undertones of a stand-up act that solely targeted one group. By alternating between racial groups he gave (almost) every audience member a chance to blush, if they were so inclined. I feel most comfortable laughing when comedians employ this type of "rotating hot-seat" because then everyone is forced to see how ludicrous stereotypes are. In other words, if the stereotype that the comedian just applied to you is inaccurate, then the other stereotypes about the other groups are probably just as absurd.