Comedy breeds controversy, and it’s hard to keep viewers when those viewers are offended by something said or done. Jokes turned offensive at the Correspondent dinner, an African American former government official was compared to an ape, and an accused sexual harasser starred in a successful family sitcom, all surfacing within the week. These are the four most controversial comedies from last week.
“The Break with Michelle Wolf”
Michelle Wolf, possibly the last comedian to speak at the White House Correspondents dinner, has a new Netflix show.
Conservatives and liberals accused Wolf of fat-shaming, bullying, and being overly vulgar during her speech at the dinner. Her most controversial jokes were over White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
“I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know,” Sanders said. “Like, what’s Uncle Tom, but for white women who disappoint other white women?”
Wolf told Vogue, “I was maybe too nice.” Her appearance at the dinner has lead the dinner’s president to reconsider inviting a comedian to future dinners.
“The Break with Michelle Wolf” is one of many new and upcoming shows produced by Netflix that will be distributed weekly instead of all at once. The show resembles many other late night talk shows in style and format. However, Wolf boasted that she can make fun of anyone and everyone because, unlike Wolf’s past employers “The Daily Show” and “Late Night with Seth Myers,” she has no sponsors to worry about.
New episodes will be made available on Netflix every Sunday.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee caused controversy on the night of Wednesday, May 30 by calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” on her show. Bee has since apologized multiple times for the comment.
I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.— Samantha Bee (@iamsambee) May 31, 2018
In response to Ivanka Trump’s picture of her and her son, “You know, Ivanka, that's a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless cunt,” Bee said on her show, “Full Frontal.” Bee was commenting on reports of roughly 1,500 missing immigrant children.
Samantha Bee has taken the right action in apologizing for the vile and inappropriate language she used about Ivanka Trump last night. Those words should not have been aired. It was our mistake too, and we regret it.— TBS Network (@TBSNetwork) May 31, 2018
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. Despite one sponsor, Autotrader, pulling its sponsorship, there are no signs that it will be cancelled due to these comments, though people have created petitions calling for its cancellation.
Thank you to those who reached out regarding our sponsorship of Full Frontal. The comments expressed by Samantha Bee were offensive and unacceptable and do not reflect the views of our company. As a result, we have suspended our sponsorship of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.— Autotrader (@AutoTrader_com) May 31, 2018
The eleventh season of “Roseanne” has been dropped by ABC over the star’s racist tweets. On the night of Monday, May 28, comedian and former third party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr tweeted “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj” about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. This tweet has since been removed.
Barr’s Twitter is no stranger to controversy. In the past her tweets have called Hillary Clinton a cunt, defended the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and accused gun control activist and Parkland survivor David Hogg of giving a Nazi salute during a speech. All of this was in the same abbreviated language as the Valerie Jarrett tweet. During the same rant, she also falsely accused Democratic donor George Soros of aiding Nazis during the Holocaust. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted that claim.
Despite an apology from Barr and claims that she was under the influence of Ambien at the time, ABC has fully dropped “Roseanne” from its lineup. The network cancelled the upcoming eleventh season and removed all information about the show from its press site. Hulu no longer carries the show and Amazon Prime only has the seasons one through nine from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Ambien tweeted in response to Barr’s claim, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
The first eight episodes of “Arrested Development’s” fifth season was made available on Netflix, despite sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against Jeffrey Tambor. Tambor, who plays the Bluth family patriarch George Sr., admitted to and apologized for yelling at co-workers but denied the sexual harassment claims, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
Van Barnes, Tambor’s assistant during his time on “Transparent,” said in a private Facebook post that Tambor had sexually harassed and groped her. Barnes did not name Tambor at the time. This accusation sparked an internal investigation by Amazon which led to Tambor’s firing from “Transparent.”
According to the New York Times, another woman working on Amazon’s “Transparent,” Trace Lysette, came forward about Jeffrey Tambor allegedly making sexually suggestive remarks, along with kissing her on the lips multiple times and thrusting against her hip. She is the second woman to come forward.
Jessica Walter actually cries in this interview about how terrible Jeffrey Tambor was to her and her male co-stars go to extraordinary lengths to comfort and defend...Tambor. FFS. https://t.co/1bv4JHesW2— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) May 23, 2018
By the time of Tambor’s firing, Netflix had already finished filming season five of “Arrested Development” so this did not affect his position on that show. However, during Tambor’s interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he also admitted to blowing-up with Jessica Walter, the actress who plays Lucille Bluth.
The New York Times asked the main cast (minus Michael Cera) about the allegations and apology, and it was uncomfortable by all accounts. Tambor talked about how much he loved the cast. Walter began crying at one point. And Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth, appeared to try to de-escalate the conversation, but that ended in backlash on Twitter as people accused him of trying to defend or normalize Tambor.
Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here. I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not.It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not.In fact, I’m-— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
The first eight episodes of the season are available to stream on Netflix, and the remaining eight will be released later this year.