That one is one of my favorites. “Sad” is, for me, about how while that sense of comedy is said to be “risqué” and “pushing the limits,” or even about “practicing free speech,” offensive comedy could really be just mean. Or at least a portion of it is just mean. It’s often said by privileged people who don’t have to experience the thing they’re joking about; they can make 95 percent of the room laugh about something that the other five percent could be genuinely experiencing. I felt fearless in that song to be as offensive as I wanted because the point of the song is undercutting any of the offensive content it may have.
But that song is a direct product of me looking at my jokes and saying, “Do I want to be saying this?” “Do I really want to make a joke about a miscarriage when a woman in the audience might have had one?” I know it’s the comedian’s instinct to say, “Do it, man, nothing’s off-limits! It’s cool, bro!” I don’t know if that’s the answer for me. I don’t worship comedy; at the end of the day I don’t fall to the altar of comedy unquestioningly.
Comedy should be a source of positivity. I don’t want to bully people, and I don’t want people to come to my show to feel terrible about something. So I’m actually very open to having a conversation about what I should or shouldn’t say. Of course, there are statements like, “You should never talk about …” And I don’t agree with those either. But I will gladly look at past jokes of mine and say, “Yes, this joke was just bad or distasteful, it made people laugh at something that’s easy, something that’s wrong to laugh at.” I really have to be open to these questions.Bo Burnham (via haswaggyswig)