So Apparently You Can Be On Trial For Telling Offensive Jokes In Canada

Well this one is pretty shocking to me. I didn’t take it seriously for a second, but apparently this Canadian comedian Mike Ward is on trial for making fun of a disabled guy in his act? Which, to me, is absolutely crazy!

So I think what’s happening is that Jeremy Gabriel is trying to get Ward to stop telling this joke about him, stop doing comedy, and even get him fined for telling the joke. AND Gabriel wants $80,000 from Ward for the damages. Seriously?! Gabriel says that the joke made him contemplate suicide. Ward’s argument is obviously: “Hey, but free speech!” It takes me right back to reading about Lenny Bruce and his struggle against the law in the U.S. for telling (at the time) very scandalous jokes.

I’m just very confused…to me this is such a ridiculous non-issue. Is this a weird P.C. thing? Is Canada really that different from the U.S.? Can you really claim that someone’s joke was so bad that it caused you “emotional pain and suffering? Yeeesh.

Weird, but very interesting. Here’s some more info from a Quebec newspaper if you’re curious.

Oh, and I didn’t even mentioned it yet because it didn’t seem important at all, but from what I understand, this is the essence of the joke that Ward told: 1) Gabriel has a syndrome that disfigured his face 2) he got tons of perhaps unwarranted media attention because he got to sing for the Pope 3) Ward defended Gabriel at first for getting this media attention, but now five years later Gabriel hasn’t died yet, making Ward look bad.

Silly, right?

7 thoughts on “So Apparently You Can Be On Trial For Telling Offensive Jokes In Canada

  1. I’m Canadian, so your title interested me. Anyone can file a nuisance charge, which is what I consider this to be. The comedian is telling bad, tasteless jokes, but they are still that—jokes in the context of a comedy show. If you don’t like it , don’t support it, don’t go to the show.

    It’s a shame this had to get into the courts.

    I wrote an article about using ‘bad’ words and cited Lenny Bruce too. Ultimately, there is no place for censorship in art.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s about time we started putting comedians and shock jocks on trial here in the U.S. Mean spirited jokes directed at the disabled are hate speech and when it’s directed at specific individuals it becomes verbal assault and that, as far as I am concerned, is a crime. Jokes aren’t funny when they hurt people. Whatever happened to when comedians would joke about the poor quality of airline food or the way it always seems to rain the day after you get a car wash. Now that’s stuff we can all laugh about!

    Liked by 1 person

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