Last night, I went to the Comedy Cellar.
If you don’t know, it’s pretty much a New York institution where all the comedy greats have performed. And most nights, an unexpected celebrity comedian will swing by to “work out” a bit. Case in point, the last time my friend went, both Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle performed.
ANYWHO. Last night, I went with my friend and a group of her co-workers.
And, honestly, it was everything you’d expect from a comedy club: over priced drinks, LOTS of couples on dates, and humor that honestly…was predictable, and insipidly uncreative.
I mean, I knew the script coming in: Donald Trump was the butt of every joke. There were SO MANY bits about how dumb men are, and how angry and shrill females are. There were countless sex jokes. And enough drug references to make your ears bleed.
Now. Truth time: I had a good laugh at most of said themes. Usually, it was out of sheer shock that the comic had the
balls audacity to say such an outrageously crude thing, but I wasn’t like, sitting there being like the church lady on SNL.
But there was a moment in the show that turned things around for me.
Now, if you’ve ever listened to stand up comedy before, you know that the format of most jokes is to make fun of something or someone. In my opinion, the best comics point the spotlight on themselves in a self-deprecating manner that everyone can appreciate or relate to. But most, sadly, will pick on a group of minorities or marginalized people.
And in said fashion, several of the comics last night used transgender people as that marginalized group to pick on.
I mean, lately, there’s a lot of “material” out there in the news, be it the bathroom debate, the army’s dispute, and other lewd themes that I’m sure you can imagine.
Well, everyone in the club was laughing away – I mean this was a pretty “safe” group to poke fun at, right?
Well, our table was not laughing.
In fact, you could have cut the awkward tension with a knife.
One of my friend’s co-workers, who was with us last night, was a trans man.
And it could not have been more apparent how stand up comedy, is really, actually, in truth…mean.
I realized how, everyone in that room was laughing at this person’s expense.
He was not laughing. His parents, also with us, were not laughing.
Now, I have a lot of thoughts about transgenderism. Thoughts that I will not get into today.
In that moment, when all of those people were laughing at transgendered people, and I happened to be sitting next to a good hearted, kind person, who just so happened to be trans, I was absolutely sick to my stomach.
This was a wound. A deep, soul-inflicting wound that this person has been struggling with, probably most of his life, that all of these people were just callously laughing at.
That is not okay.
I couldn’t help but think about what Jesus would have thought if He were in that comedy cellar last night.
And I know, He probably never would have stepped His holy foot in there to begin with. But just, what if He were there.
Jesus wouldn’t have been laughing at that man. He would have been crying. He would have been holding that man, and hugging him, and weeping with him in his humiliation.
Because here’s the thing: every single one of us have deep wounds. We all are deeply wounded people. There’s no way around it: we’re all products of The Fall.
And who’s to say that one wound is “worse” or “uglier” than the other.
Jesus died for all wounds. And has showed us through example that each one of us deserves compassion and love.
Not ridicule and humiliation.
Sitting at that table last night, listening to the room cackle at some insensitive joke about this man’s deepest hurt in his life, my heart just went out to him.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about the issue, at the end of the day, we are all children of God. We were all bought at the same price.
And therefore, we are all brothers and sisters, deserving of love and respect.
The bully-culture that we have grown so callous to – be it in the form of an anonymous tweet or Instagram comment, be it on the playground, be it in a “gossipy/excluding-one-person” email thread at the office, or on stage at a comedy club – this bully culture has got to stop.
We think our actions have no consequence – “it’s behind the screen of a computer, it’s not to the person’s face, it’s just pointing out the truth” – NO.
And last night I witnessed their sting and torment – not just to the individual – but to the victim’s loved ones too.
It’s time that we stop participating in the problem.
Stop following the instigators. Quit buying the magazines that push gossipy stories. Change the channel on the shows that perpetuate hurtful stereotypes and start speaking with love and respect. Speaking in a way that Jesus would want His children to speak to one another.
I have never really hung out with anyone who was trans before. And relaying this story to my dad today, he asked how the dynamic was with my group. And honestly, it was a lot of fun. We were all just a group of friends, laughing, hanging out, enjoying one another’s company. And sure, there were some difficult moments during the show, but at our table, there was love to be found. We all knew it, and it grounded the people there. And my new friend and his parents? They had a great time too. In fact, his dad even picked up the tab for the night.
Which just goes to show…love will prevail. Kindness and respect will overcome.
They always do.
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