Does Comedy Have Limits?

By Richard Nelson

j

May 8, 2018

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One of the traditions in Washington D.C. is the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner where comedian's poke fun at politicians, especially the president. But this year's speaker, Michelle Wolf crossed a line with her routine that was vulgar and mean spirited. Wolf personally attacked the appearance of White House Communications Director Sarah Sanders who was only a few feet away.  Wolf's antics drew widespread outrage and because of it, the publication The Hill is withdrawing from future participation. Of course, we enjoy freedom of speech and we can criticize our leaders, but a line is crossed when a comedian resorts to vulgar references and hurtfully demeans others. In the end, we become coarsened as a people.  We're better than that. We ought to insist on higher standards for comedians, politicians and ourselves.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center