This week, I have been thinking a lot about how the comedian can convince the audience that they have Permission to Laugh* at jokes about a negative experience that they have not had, i.e. sexual discrimination, racism, disability, whilst remaining empathetic to those who have. Some subjects are so difficult to talk about that it can help to distance ourselves from them by using comedy, but that can, of course, be divisive. In this instance, Conrad Koch distances himself from the words he’d like to say by using a puppet to speak for him. If we put the controversial nature of having a live, white man choose the words of a black man-puppet to one side, we can see that this is a very interesting device – one I hadn’t considered – that allows the comedian to say more provocative things that the audience might not have accepted without the buffer. Don’t blame me, blame the puppet!
*come to my show!