There are two reasons a comedian makes the news these days.
Either they've signed a deal for a sitcom, or they've offended somebody and people are demanding that they make some sort of public apology, possibly involving a form of self flagellation or face being boycotted or censored into oblivion.
You had Gilbert Gottfried getting fired from his Aflac duck gig for tweeting jokes about the Japanese tsunami disaster, Adam Carolla being deemed worse than Hitler for saying that he sees more men in comedy than women, and most recently Dane Cook had to apologize for making jokes about the recent shootings in Aurora.
And it's not just an American thing. A Canadian comedian was fined thousands of dollars and literally banned by a government agency from performing in the province of British Columbia for the crime of hurting the feelings of a heckler who was being rowdy at an open mic night.
Why are people putting so much weight on the often off the cuff rantings of comedians, who are not role models in any sense of the word?
1. It's easy.
2. Too many people NEED to be offended these days.
Need more explanation? Okay...
1. It's easy because comedians are prone to run off at the mouth. This is especially true when they're developing new material, and are prone to do and say anything in front of any kind of audience to see if it will work.
Sprinkle a dozen camera phones recording every second of a live performance, or people taking screen grabs of their social media postings, and suddenly something that would have just got a few boos from the audience goes viral, and it's all over the world.
Which brings us to...
2. There are people who just need to be offended because they profit from it in some way. First there's a 24/7/365 media industry that needs stories and there's nothing they like better than someone doing something outrageous and offensive because it requires little to no investigation or analysis.
Second are the professionally outraged. Lawyers, activists, sensitivity trainers, and others all need causes to get attention for themselves and their causes, and to keep their paychecks coming. So they can, and will, jump on anything they think they can use, and like I said earlier, comedians are easy targets.
Now this is where I get to say that the Middle Ages had done something right.
You see back in olden days, between plague outbreaks, peasant revolts, and sieges the royal court would be entertained by the Court Jester or the Fool.
Now there was a rule that the Jester could not be punished for anything he said, no matter how offensive or outrageous.
Because laughter, even inappropriate laughter is essential to our mental survival, and occasionally a nugget of deeper truth would plop out of the all the foolishness.
See, even before the invention of the dinner fork, they knew that censoring comedy was wrong.
Now you're probably sitting at your computer thinking "This isn't the Middle Ages, this is the Internet Age where outrage is cheap and plentiful. What do I do if a comedian says something that offends me?"
The answer is NOTHING!
Don't go running around screaming about your hurt feelings.
Just sit there in silence.
You see boos and screams of outrage are a form of attention, and some comics would prefer attention over laughs. However silence stings the comic, it can induce potentially fatal cases of flop sweat, and it forces them to move onto something else that might work better.