Was this supposed to be funny?
This week, there was a tremendous amount of commentary and angst around a bit on the television show Full Frontal, with Samantha Bee making fun of a young man who attended CPAC. The video segment mocked Kyle Coddington for his haircut, comparing the style to that of a Nazi.
Soon after finding out that the young man has stage 4 brain cancer and the haircut is related to his treatment, the show issued the following apology: "We deeply apologize for offending @ that Kyle in our CPAC segment. We only learned of his condition today and have removed him from the piece."
In a press release following the Full Frontal apology, Mr. Coddington stated:
I have been hesitant of supporting Donald Trump from Day 1, and was openly "Never Trump" through the entirety of the 2016 election cycle. Another fact is that I am a registered Democrat. These facts disprove the narrative trying to be pushed by Samantha Bee's segment.
Now, I have several questions regarding this entire scenario. First and foremost, why is this supposed to be funny? Essentially, someone working for the show decided that a picture of someone he didn't know had a haircut he could make a joke about, comparing that CPAC attendee to Nazis. Making fun of someone for his looks or physical characteristics is elementary playground kind of humor. Is this the best entertainers can do to make people laugh these days?
Second, Mr. Coddington is half correct in saying the apology is "kind of a half-apology." Frankly, it is no apology at all and would never have been considered or issued if the information of his cancer had not come to light. This makes me wonder: can anyone say anything about anybody as long as he tweets out an apology once someone says he is offended?
Third, Mr. Coddington states that he is a registered Democrat and was "Never Trump" through the entire election. Why does this matter? Would the negative characterization be okay if he were a registered Republican? Would it be okay if he didn't have cancer?
It does not go unnoticed that the Full Frontal team chose to malign a white male. The white male is supposedly the only race and gender type that generally is acceptable to ridicule. That is, when he doesn't have stage 4 cancer.
Public officials and celebrities are often subject to ridicule, parody, and criticism – it goes with the territory because they have chosen to put themselves in the spotlight. As a rule, media and entertainment outlets accept that mocking immediate family is off limits, especially minor children. Lately, however, mocking even children has been acceptable to the left, as long as an appropriate pseudo-apology is later tweeted and circulated by the media.
When I see narratives of this type being passed off as humor, I miss the days of true humor. Growing up with Red Skelton, Laugh-In, and the Smothers Brothers makes me miss the days when humor was well thought out and took intelligence to comprehend. Maybe someday, progressives will learn that humor can be biting yet civil and inoffensive, with no need for half-apologies.
Gary L. Rathbun is the host of "An Economy of One," syndicated regionally by iHeartMedia and nationally by Radio America. Contact him at Gary@aneconomyofone.com.