WATCH: Louis C.K. SNL Monologue Sparks Outrage

This weekend, comedian Louis C.K. raised some controversy while hosting Saturday Night Live. The commotion surrounds his nine minute opening monologue, in which he brought up his childhood. He admitted that, since his childhood in the 1970s, “mild racism” was just the norm—that it was still okay back then to make racial remarks without immediate reprimand. He followed this with jokes about how if he saw a black man enter a convenience store late at night wearing a hoodie, he just assumed he was an athlete.
“People said racist things all the time and no one got offended,” he explained. “The only time someone got offended was when someone says, ‘Hey! You interrupted me, I was saying something racist.’”
But things seemed to take a turn when he starts on the topic of child molestation and pedophiles.
“Because child molesters are very tenacious people. They love molesting childs! It’s crazy! It’s like their favorite thing,” he said. “There is no worse life available to a human than being a caught child molester. And yet they still do it! Which from, you can only really surmise, that it must be really good. I mean, from their point of view, it must be amazing to risk so much!”
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzh7RtIJKZk&w=640&h=360]
 
If you’re at all familiar with Louis C.K.’s comedy, you already know he is no stranger to dark comedy routines, and hardly ever shies away from addressing sensitive topics and pushing the boundaries. And this is what makes so many people love him.

But some people seem to believe he crossed a line on SNL, even for him.

 

Others found nothing wrong with it.


Gauging the crowd’s less-than-encouraging reaction, and clearly aware of the groans and disgruntled noises coming from the crowd the longer the monologue continued, he began to close the monologue by saying, “How do you think I feel? It’s my last show, probably.”
This controversy joins the accumulating discussion of the role comedy plays in our society, and how and when personal offenses are—and aren’t—used as guidelines for censorship and political correctness. Is it ever okay to make jokes about such sensitive subjects—racism, child molestation—if it is in the name of comedy?
Personally, I believe that when it comes to comedy, it is important to take into account a person’s intention—not necessarily the result. Was he making these jokes because he intended to upset people—to condone or excuse racism and child molestation? Of course not. But rather, as most satire and comedy is designed for, to hold a mirror up to society and reframe our thinking about a controversial topic. In this case, poke fun at the ridiculousness of child molester’s mentality, and offer a brutally honest account of what growing up with “mild racism” was like.
And, of course, with it being the finale of SNL 40, Louis C.K. and the staff of Saturday Night Live probably understand that to get attention, you often need to stir the pot a little bit. They know that speaking on such sensitive and controversial topics such as racism and molestation are going to spark a reaction from people—and that is exactly what it did.

Story by Casey Cavanagh

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