Before this class, I never had a problem with comedians joking about stereotypes. I would always say they were just making jokes that are not meant to be taken seriously. However, I now realize that comedians play a huge role in perpetuating stereotypes. Whether we realize it or not, we are internalizing the stereotypes they present, and those stereotypes influence our behavior.
For instance, in this video, Daniel Tosh is making very sexist jokes:
People may play off these very offensive stereotypes as jokes, but they do not realize they are unconsciously internalizing these messages. People start to believe women are, in fact, worse at math, driving, and running a country. This affects their behavior towards women and their expectations of women.
Here, Ricky Gervais talks about fat people:
Again, people may say he is just joking, but think about the message he is sending to the audience: all fat people have no self-restraint.
People would never say these stereotypes to others because it would be deemed offensive. However, it becomes acceptable to make stereotypes in comedy routines. This is where the problem lies, and I think comedy can be very harmful. Comedy becomes our exposure to stereotypes, and even though comedians are trying to play it off as a joke, the audience unconsciously adopts these stereotypical ideas.