Are People Overreacting?

PUBLISHED ON 15/4/2013 ON HITZ247

Over the past few weeks, Melbourne has seen the annual event of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival take place, with the last show due to finish this weekend. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the third–largest international comedy festival in the world and the largest cultural event in Australia. It has seen names such as Rich Hall, Tommy Bradson and The Writers take the stage.

It also promotes three development programs: Raw Comedy – Australia’s biggest open mic competition, Class Clowns – a national comedy competition for high school students, and Deadly Funny – an Indigenous comedy competition that celebrates the unique humour of Indigenous Australians.

One of the international acts to take to the stage in the 2013 Festival was American comedian Tracy Morgan. It is his first time touring in Australia but now perhaps his last! Shot_3-10863

Audiences should know what to expect from the comedian, looking at his previous works. However, last night at his show many Melbournians walked out of Hamer Hall after what they claimed was a “sexist rant with offensive material.” Tracy Morgan is well known for his performance on television shows 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. Outraged people have been appearing all over radio stations and newspapers today, disgusted by the show that they bought tickets to see on the weekend; with some even demanding a refund. The outpour of disgruntled remarks have appeared on various social media outlets this morning, after the sold-out shows on the weekend.

Morgan’s Melbourne publicist, Hannah Watkins, said ticket sales to Morgan’s show came with clear warnings about language and subject matter. His shows are as you’d expect: outrageous, riffling on sex, on race and the gender differences between men and women.

A lady by the name of Sue on 3AW radio this morning stated the performance: “went beyond the gutter. It was all sexually related. He said he was a pervert and this is the sort of stuff he liked and then it went on from there.” Perhaps “Sue” didn’t use the online video-sharing tool of YouTube to gage an idea of what Morgan portrays in his comedic acts and characters.

People have said the show was a denigration to women. Perhaps it was, but in the scene of the International Melbourne Comedy Festival is this acceptable?

In everyday conversation in Melbourne, such subject matter and topics would be viewed as inappropriate, but is this so for the Comedy Festival?

After all, isn’t the Comedy Festival a showcase of different comedian’s talents despite what humour they target?

If he was such a crude, disrespectful man, would he have been offered a place at this year’s festival?

There is no question that the Australian Government is currently promoting campaigns that stop denigration and violence towards women, but how can such behaviour in mainstream popular culture be claimed to promote this?

The Festival director Susan Provan has stated that she too wasn’t aware of the outrage surrounding Morgan’s Melbourne shows. Media sources are claiming 50 or so people walked out of Hamer Hall. If these numbers were in fact true, surely 1 or 2 of those disgruntled individuals would demand to see management?

Is this all being blown out of proportion? Have Melbournians lost their sense of humour? Some people may be directed towards crass and crude humour, but who are we to judge what is funny and what isn’t?

Perhaps just one hint to people, before you go and spend a hundred dollars on a ticket to a stand-up comedy gig, Google or Youtube the person so you know what you are seeing. Who would go to a mainstream popular culture event without seeing past examples or gigs of the individual they are paying to see?

If you are one of the people who, in fact, left disgruntled but had never experienced Morgan’s humour prior to Saturday night, I will give you a hint – try this new modern search tool: “GOOGLE” and type ‘Tracy Morgan’ in the search bar!

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