Dear Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, and Louis C.K.,

I’m sorry for blurring the lines between quality comedy and cheap, easy, mean-spirited dreck. 

Here’s the thing: I’m a fan of yours. I like comedy. I like what you do. A lot. I aspire to it, in fact. But it’s hard, thinking of ways to challenge societal stereotypes and political correctness and make people laugh while showing them something useful about how fucked-up the world is, how fucked-up we all are. So I just do the "make people laugh" part.

You guys are great! The way you write jokes about racism and misogyny and homophobia—the way you mix in enough pain with the humor so that the audience is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths while they laugh. That takes so long. though. It’s exhausting. I can do it. I have done it. There was a joke we wrote on Family Guy once where they go to a sushi restaurant or something and Peter calls it Chinese food, and his kid corrects him, telling him that it’s actually Japanese food. And Peter responds, all know-it-all and patronizingly, “Yes, but Japan is in China.” (Or something like that. I forget exactly. But that was the gist of it.) That’s a good joke, because the joke is how stupid Americans don’t know anything about the world and think all Asian people are the same. That’s like a joke you guys would write.

But again: very difficult. Jeez, it took us like an hour to come up with that one. It’s easier just to show, I dunno, a crazy stereotype of an Asian guy squinting his eyes up extra tight, screaming, “You pay for that!” while he’s holding a duck under his arm. Like that scene in Ted.

And the best part is, the defense against criticism of both these kinds of jokes is the same. We all get to say, anytime someone gets offended, “Oh come on, lighten up! Can’t you take a joke? Don’t be so P.C.” There’s never any comeback to that that doesn’t make the complainant look like a humorless prig!    

I don’t like pain. Not for me, at least. I like money. But I can see how you guys might get kinda pissed watching me make so much of it the way I do.


Seth MacFarlane