L.A. Comedy Club To Ban the Word “Nigger”

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/11/laughfactory1271-thumb.jpgNBC4 TV reported last night that the Laugh Factory on Sunset will ban use of the word “nigger” by its performers. This, of course, comes after comedian Michael Richards yelled at two black hecklers with the word along with other racist comments.

In addition, Jesse Jackson and other prominent African-Americans have called for a complete boycott of the word.

While I’m glad that this incident has resulted in dialogue about existing issues of racism and the volatility of hate speech, I’m always concerned about any restrictions on free speech, as the Laugh Factory appears to be doing. Certainly, a private club can do what it wants, but comedy clubs should be the last place any sort of censorship exists.

I’m also continuously bothered by media outlets and writers pansying around spelling out all six letters of the word “nigger”, replacing it with “the ‘n’ word” or some variation of the asterixed “n**ger”. Poorly veiling the word gives it that much more allure and power, instead of deflating it into two syllables fit only for the arrogant.

I encourage all artists to follow the advice of Rev. Jackson and refrain from using the word, in spite of the chicken shit credibility and supposed cool factor it gives to their immature audiences, but flatly reject any imposed restriction of free speech.

17 Replies to “L.A. Comedy Club To Ban the Word “Nigger””

  1. I’m with you, Markland!

    Free Speech isn’t the First Amendment for nothing – without it all other freedoms erode and fast.

    I’m not a fan of that word but to pretend it doesn’t exist or that it’s not in constant usage by people of all races is retarded.

    I also agree that it’s totally lame to force everyone to discuss the word but not be able to say the word we’re discussing – it’s just a WORD.

    And before you all jump all over me, I’m well aware that it’s not a nice word like kitty cat or snuggle. But it’s still just a word. Its power comes from us, not it.

  2. I think it’s ridiculous to try to ban any word, especially those that are considered incendiary. To poorly paraphrase Lenny Bruce, if everyone called everyone nigger, then no little black kid would run home crying because someone called him one.

    And what about the black comedians? They can’t say it either? What ever happened to reclaiming oppressive symbols and reframing power structures?

    This is absurd and insulting.

  3. Personally ,I don’t think it was the word nigger that was the problem. When he mentioned that back in the day they could be hung was where it was offensive and downright nasty. Not funny at all!!!

    But nigger is offensive to me. It means much more than what people who have never lived in the south would or could ever understand. It is a word meant to dehumanize and you don’t have to be black when someone makes that statement towards you.
    And yes I wonder why black artists use the word all of the time in their music to identify with.
    It is a word that sickens me.

    Where were these guys from anyway?

  4. Um…where does that link to KNBC’s site say that the Laugh Factory will be banning the usage of the word? I haven’t found anything online that says the club will be banning the word, only articles like the one linked to, quoting Jesse Jackson for people to stop using it.

  5. N-word please…if you take the n-word out of Chris Rock or Dave Chappeles stand-up routine you will loose almost all of the comedy. The laugh factory will loose more black comics than they can ever afford if they go through with this.

  6. N-word please…if you take the n-word out of Chris Rock or Dave Chappeles stand-up routine you will loose almost all of the comedy. The laugh factory will loose more black comics than they can ever afford if they go through with this.

  7. Yeah, I heard about this on the radio. I agree that it is kind of crazy to “ban” a word, but for the most part I think that they are on the right track. I think that it is more an idea to take this word out of the “common” vocabulary. Although most people refrain from ever using this word, it is still used all too often in popular culture. When should people know when this word is “ok” to use and in what context is it ok; can only people of African decent say this to eachother? Removing this word from pop culture in things like music may help to lessen the use of this word.

    In comparison as a Jew I would never refer to one of my peers a “kyke”. Why has the word “Nigger” become so commonplace between Black people? As stated in a previous post, these words are used to dehumanize people and not intended to be used in place of saying “hi” to your friends.

    Obviously this is a touchy subject and everyone has an opinion.

  8. Found a link referencing the ban here (see bottom of the article): http://www.gg2.net/viewnews.asp?nid=4000&tid=countryNews&catid=UK%20News

    Frustrating considering what was said a week ago here: http://www.nbc4.tv/news/10366512/detail.html

    “The activists urged the club to forbid the use of derogatory, racial words, but Rodriguez said comedy and censorship could not co-exist.

    “There is no way I’m going to ban any word in any language,” [resident comic Paul] Rodriguez said. “It’s not up to us (to) say, ‘Come up here and don’t use the ‘N’ word.”

  9. Evan:
    The Laugh Factory ban was mentioned verbally during last nights 11pm broadcast, but I also haven’t found mention of it online – but Bobbo’s link has a quote.

  10. I saw the Laugh Factory owner on the news, clearly saying they would not allow the word to be used.

    Are they now claiming they never said it? Or are you just having trouble finding it online?

  11. Wow – what an asinine concept. But in a strange, meta-way, it’s funny.

    On second though – I support the ban. And let’s ban fuck as well. Too many comedians rely on it for a cheap laugh. Shock me, shock me! Sometimes a well placed swear-work ads just the right amount of funny. But good stand-ups don’t need any of that shit . . . .

  12. Just stupid…so “nigger” can’t even be used if the comedian is playing a racist character, in order to comment on racism? Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks are back-flipping in their graves.

  13. This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard since Jesse Jackson coming out recently asking for the same thing. This is the same idiot who used “hymietown” to describe NY many times.

    The Laugh Factory and Jesse Jackson need to stop acting like niggers.

  14. So what happens if a comedian says nigger? Does the thought police come an arrest you or even worse do you have to listen to a speech from Jesse Jackson?

    BTW, Is that Stewie Griffin in that picture?

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