When does comedy go too far?

I love the sharp, astute observations that comedians often make. Their humor point out a way of looking at the world that has not been articulated by any other media. And the fact that they are funny make it all the more fun. One of the more brash comedians of our time is Joan Rivers. She now hosts “The Fashion Police” on E! Channel, and she made the following comment to a reporter for Footwear News regarding the Oscar-nominated Helena Bonham Carter’s fashion sense. She said, “Six sessions of psychiatric treatment will straighten [Helena] out. [It] looked like she just got out of her straightjacket [sic] and escaped too quickly.”

I’ve seen how Rivers talks about other people, so I know I shouldn’t be shocked by the comment. But this statement did make me a bit annoyed. My thoughts probably derive from so many times that I’ve heard other people use this straitjacket/psychiatric hospital example as a source for laughter, and that so many people find the bit so funny. But what part of being confined to a psychiatric hospital and then escaping is a laughing matter? I’m not really the one that take offense at a lot of things, but Joan Rivers’ comment made me wonder if I’m ignoring comments that should be scrutinized? Is there a line where we should actually take offense at what a comedian says?


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