Good comedy punches up. Good, responsible comedy uses humor to question the status quo, to take on the powerful. To shake things up.
Mocking fat people reinforces the status quo. It keeps everything right where it is. It pushes down on the people who are already down and makes us think they belong there.
Fat jokes have a nasty edge to them. They express disgust and disdain. They question nothing and accept all prior assumptions.
Fat jokes are inherently lazy and boring. Most of them don't even follow any type of structure that would show them to be actual jokes. There's no setup. No punchline.
This is how joke structure works for fat jokes.
- Point out person is fat.
- Wait for laughter.
That's not a joke. That's just being an asshole. I know people get the two confused, but just pointing out a physical characteristic of someone is not a joke.
Example- "Wow, Bill really does have BLUE EYES." Wait for laughter. "They're SO BLUE." Wait. "It looks like his eyes are LIKE THE SKY, AM I RIGHT?? SO BLUE!"
No. That's not how humor works. That's how mockery and stigma work, but FOR FUCK'S SAKE there should be a difference between stigma and humor. It sounds weird when I make it be about someone's blue eyes because we don't have a cultural belief that having blue eyes makes you barely a person and that just pointing out what a non-person you are means that there should be instant laughter.
This is why some comics think they can get away with doing weird voices to indicate "Woman" or "Gay Man" and then just say some unfunny bullshit, like oh look at me- straight man pretending to be gay or a woman (or god help me, a racial minority) = SO FUNNY. It's supposed to be funny because it's the contrast between someone who is clearly a person pretending to be someone who ISN'T a person.
GET IT!????? GET IT???? DO YOU??? WHAT, CAN'T TAKE A JOKE????
That is FUCKED UP. And it's NOT FUNNY.
Do we hear people say- hey, look at Sally- SHE'S A WOMAN, and expect laughter, just off of that? Don't they normally have to at least set up a premise about "bitches" or "gold diggers" or something?
But if someone pointed at me and said FAT and then started describing my fat rolls in a way that is supposed to be disgusting and off putting-- the 'joke' is just that I'm fat, right? I haven't done anything other than just exist in the world. Which leads me to believe the premise is that I just shouldn't exist?
(I have thoughts about the male comics who are mostly the ones perpetrating this shit, but I'm gonna break this up into pieces.)
So what would a good fat joke look like? A non-stigmatizing fat joke. Because I fucking hate rape jokes, but I believe there have been a couple of good jokes about rape.
Wanda Sykes had a great one about taking your pussy off and leaving it at home so you could go jogging without the fear of rape.
It's a good joke because it doesn't make fun of rape victims.
A good fat joke wouldn't mock fat people. It wouldn't hold us up to scorn and ridicule. It would punch up and question the extreme amounts of fat hatred in our culture.
I've never seen one.