Difficult People is a new Hulu exclusive, and as such, I didn’t expect anything racy or controversial. That is until someone posted this humorless article (or one like it) about one of the show’s jokes.
In the show, Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner star as themselves: crass, snarky, gossipy actor/comedians living in NYC. So if you expect people of the aforementioned qualities to make wholesome, non-offensive jokes…well, I can’t help you there. So here’s the deal with the joke, as you no doubt already heard about: Julie’s character is at times despicable, but THAT is what makes her also lovable, don’t you see?! She says ridiculous things with no filter, but not in that asshat Donald Trump way that everyone is talking about these days. At one point, Julie’s character posts on Twitter: “I can’t wait for Blue Ivy to be old enough for R. Kelly to piss on her,” which is followed by such a major backlash that she has to go back and delete the tweet out of existence. As they are wont to do, Julie and Billy encounter many “garbage people” along their daily journey, and one such person, a real piece of work, continues to berate Julie for posting such an offensive tweet.
When I heard the joke, sure, my jaw dropped, and a little gasp came right afterward…followed by a pretty sizeable guffaw. Because that is what this sort of humor is supposed to do! “Oh NO she didn’t!” you are supposed to profess. And I am pretty sure that in the backlash that Julie’s character received in the show, we were supposed to also see that yeah, she was crossing the line a little bit. I think what is happening here is that the joke has a few too many layers for some fly-by-night viewer to quite fully grasp. The person spreading this article on FB, by the way, most certainly did not watch the show herself, further removing the context of the joke within the show and tearing it to shreds while simultaneously declaring “I hate Julie Klausner anyway.” (Sounds like you should avoid the show anyway then, amirite?).
I am seeing a death of comedy, and it makes me sad. Luckily, my often-offensive humor is mostly hidden, and reserved for those whom I know can take a joke. I am a feminist, I have advocated for people of color, immigrants, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and other marginalized populations since I became aware of the world around me. I’m fucking 21st-century-civil-rights-aware, motherfuckers, and the fact that I can see through the punchline of this joke is a testament to just how easily-offended we are becoming. And I am scared for the future of comedy. How can we be humorous if we are no longer allowed to push the envelope a little? It’s snowballing out of control at this point, with commentary such as, “This is disgusting, there’s no way a tasteless joke like that would be made about baby Apple or Suri Cruise.” (from this “Bossip” article). Ri-diculous, you guys… If you wanna defend your Bey squad so hard, I will happily write off your illuminati-scum friendship. (Another tongue-in-cheek joke that you probably didn’t get).
I must get off my rage soap box now, but it’s worth mentioning that people are attacking Amy Poehler, the show’s
producer, for the joke, and not so much Julie Klausner even. I guess she’s just not a big enough target for these people.
I am loving Difficult People, and I will continue to be a staunch supporter. I am hoping that this most recent press that the show has received will be more of a blessing than a curse.