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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

Why Are People So Unkind?

The other day I was reading some pretty nasty blog comments about some of the comedians at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival – specifically the Gala – and I couldn’t help but wonder: why are people so unkind?

It freaks me out – even comics who are revered in the industry and in the public (and in my own mind) as brilliant, are subject to a panning by any old monkey who has access to a computer.

I guess that’s just another difference between a public job and a ‘civilian’ one, for want of a better word. If you’re a fireman, a lawyer or a dishwasher at the local pub, no matter how pitifully you perform your job, even if you’re the worst insert-occupation-here who has ever lived in the entire history of the universe, chances are that nobody’s going to bother investing time and energy into humiliating and bagging the hell out of you for it.

But as soon as you’re in the public eye, you are fair game. And the thing is, to warrant criticism in this occupation, you don’t even have to completely suck: you just have to not be everybody’s particular cup of tea.

And that’s the thing about cups of tea – everybody prefers a different one. (As Akmal Saleh once said: “You won’t ever be funny to everybody.”) Meaning that all you have to do is step onto the stage, and you’re 100% guaranteed right then and there that you’re going to be upsetting/annoying/disappointing/not amusing somebody.

SCARY.

Anyway, I know I can’t change this, but I do have a few things I’d like to say to some of the peopl who write the really nasty things (which, by the way, if you’re actually reading this blog, what are you doing here? Begone ye fiends!) But not before you read this:

Firstly, just because a particular comic is not to your taste, does not mean that you have the right to request them to stop performing full-stop. Gees, if every performer used criticism as a denial of permission to step on stage, then the Comedy Gala would last exactly three minutes, all of which would be the community service announcements for OxFam. Efficient, but hardly entertaining.

Secondly, if you think all comedians suck so badly (and yes, somebody actually wrote words to that effect), then please, by all means…show them how it’s done! Get off your computer, jump on stage with mic in hand and kill, kill, kill! If we need a messiah so badly, then why not make it you? I tend to think that those who can, do. While those who can’t…bag the shit out of those who can.

And finally, for those who argue passionately and vehemently that women are not funny, I say only one thing:

I know rejection hurts, but there’s no need to be bitter.

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