Friday, March 30, 2007

Second City Responds Re: The "F word"

Subject: RE: Second City uses the F word
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 15:33:17 -0500


Thank you very much for your e-mail. As an improv based theatre, we value the input of our audiences.

As you astutely pointed out, we do sometimes use offensive language in order to make a satirical point. In simplistic terms, sometimes the characters we portray believe and say things that we ourselves abhor. And we do believe that words have power, but by the use of satire we can rob these words of some of their venom.

We at The Second City believe nothing should be off limits to our actors. And we have used many offensive terms in our shows. Since the actors write their own material, they choose the political and social issues that they believe it is important to tackle. In this case, Brian, who happens to be gay, chose to consciously use the word “faggot”. And to your address your point, our African-American cast members have indeed used the word “nigger” in shows as well.

I would never suggest that you not be offended by something we choose to present. It is just that we believe in our inalienable “right to offend” which opens dialogue such as this and helps us all to reexamine our beliefs.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write.

Kirk Hanley

Producer – The Second City

Subject: RE: Second City uses the F word
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 16:22:55 -0500


Thank you so much for your e-mail.

As I stated before I would never wish or hope that Second City become concerned with political correctness. I think comedy should be open to offending anyone and everyone. I love South Park for example.

I was really addressing a concern for the society in general where "faggot" is an acceptable put down from straight man to straight man. However the "N" word would not be thrown around like that anymore. The parallel was what was nagging at my conscience.

I have been thinking a lot about gays and humor. Why every late night monologue, comedy show, etc etc - has some form of gay joke in it. What is funny about it? Is it just the uncomfortable factor among straight men about gay men etc? What is it culturally that makes it funny? That is not something I can answer and is probably worthy of a thesis paper and documentary.

If you think a gay man gets a pass in my world for saying "Faggot" - you're wrong. My friends and I do not call each other or others by it. I don't think African Americans should be throwing around the "n-word" at each other either or rapping with it etc. That is for their community to debate I guess.

In these days where actors on night time dramas, political commentators, local sports coaches and more are saying "faggot" and not knowing its wrong until there is a controversy - I thought it was worth bringing it up. (None of those people would have said the N-word) When advertisers think it's ok to have men kiss in a snickers ad to "gross out" the straight Super Bowl fans. It was worth mentioning.

I love second city - keep testing the boundaries and making us laugh. This communication was just food for thought.

If you knew me you'd know I'm not the most easily offended person. Your current show is hilarous.

Thanks for replying.


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