Comedy Central recently presented their upcoming original cartoon shows to a panel of advertisers and one of the shows is about Jesus Christ. Good ol’ JC is on the verge of making it to the comedic tv-waves of America! The funniest part of this plan is not the show itself, it’s the response it is getting in the media. Recently, South Park was censored in order to prevent the image of Muhammad from airing, but now Comedy Central has given the green light to a show that is all about the Christian Prophet. To me, the bigger problem here isn’t the fact that Comedy Central is going to be airing a sketch about Jesus, it’s this comment from Kent Alterman, head of original programming, “In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable.” If this is true, how come Muhammad was censored out? Yes it’s against Islamic Law to show his face, but last I checked we are not living under Islamic Law. Yes, it’s offensive to Muslims, but last I checked making Black jokes, Jewish jokes, etc. was offensive to millions of people, yet they are not censored. In fact, many shows center around making fun of the “Jewiness” (or South Park’s relentless Jewish jokes) or “Blackness” (South Park does Black too) of characters.
Some have argued, it’s not fair that Comedy Central is going to green light a show that could make fun of Jesus. At the least it will definitely distort the image Christians have made of Jesus for centuries. I cry not fair for a far different reason. It’s not fair that we get to see and watch Jesus get a comedic makeover, but can’t see the same thing happen to Muhammad. The reaction of Islamic radicals has hijacked the comedic liberty of this country. Jews, Blacks, Christians, Italians, Irish, Mexicans, etc. are all ok to make fun of, but don’t you dare cross the line and make a Muslim joke.
By the way, South Park aired an episode with Muhammad in it a number of years ago and it had a full depiction of the Prophet. Not much protest after that one, but since the Danish cartoon and the violent, radical and dare I say ridiculous response by pockets of the Muslim community, it is now blasphemy not only in Islam but in free speech to joke about Muhammad.
Here’s a South Park clip summing up my point in a more poignant fashion…