Is there anything funny about the Harvey Weinstein scandal? It seems impossible to find a funny lining amid an ongoing storm of sexual assault allegations. As a result countless comics are finding themselves in the line of fire, as well.
Multiple comedians have already faced backlash for joking about Weinstein. Most recently, Larry David was bashed for a comment he made while hosting Saturday Night Live.
"A lot of sexual harassment stuff in the news and I couldn’t help but notice a very disturbing pattern emerging, which is that many of the predators, not all, but many of them are Jews," he began. "I don’t like when Jews are in the headlines for notorious reasons. I want ‘Einstein discovers the theory of relativity,' ’Salk cures polio.' What I don’t want? 'Weinstein took it out.'"
Watch video of Larry David's SNL monologue.
David then added, "I know I consistently strive to be a good Jewish representative" before joking about what it would have been like to seduce women in concentration camps. It was this latter part of the monologue that drew the most backlash.
Still, his speech raises the question of whether anyone can legitimately joke about such an awful topic. Others have also tried and failed. Last month, James Corden was slammed after making a series of quips while hosting the amfAR Gala. At one point, Corden said, "Right here in L.A., it’s so beautiful Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage."
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) October 14, 2017
He added, "It has been weird this week though hasn’t it, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water, ask any of the women who watched him take a bath, it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest." Corden later apologized on Twitter.
but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims. I am truly sorry for anyone offended, that was never my intention. (2/2)
— James Corden (@JKCorden) October 15, 2017
Seth Meyers also joked about Weinstein the Tuesday after the story broke, saying, "The New Yorker today released audio of fired Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein begging a model to come into his hotel room and watch him shower. And by the looks of him, I’m guessing that shower never happened. I mean, the rest of us need one."
But comedians are kind of in a no-win situation. If they choose not to joke about Weinstein, they will face backlash for seemingly protecting him. That is what happened to Saturday Night Live when it failed to address the controversy in the first episode after the scandal broke. When asked about this following the after party, SNL creator Lorne Michaels simply said, "It's a New York thing."
â€” Late Night (@LateNightSeth) October 11, 2017
At the time, reports said SNL did write Weinstein jokes but cut them out of the show after they failed to land any laughs during rehearsals. Still, that didn't stop some, including Donald Trump Jr., from wondering why SNL joked about the President's exploits but not Weinstein's - especially since Donald Trump Sr. is also from New York.
Similarly, many other late-night hosts delayed addressing the Weinstein scandal in their monologues until the week after the story broke. Seth Meyers, however, maintained that he wanted to wait a few days to make sure he handled the subject as sensitively as possible.
"You know, it happened on Thursday, and we only had a show on Thursday [before Monday]," Meyers told THR. "And I was not prepared to talk about something as tricky as sexual assault in a way that I felt would be appropriate that quickly. I felt we responded to it as fast as we respond to anything else."
Do you think Harvey Weinstein jokes should be off-limits? Let us know your take in the comments section below!