Lerato Morotolo: When comedy is just not that funny

‘Hey baby! I wanna chow that peach!”

It had been another hard day in the land of perpetual patriarchy, but I had survived the trip home on the Rea Vaya despite the relentless catcalls and sexual harassment still echoing in my mind.

I was in the mood to forget the day, unwind in front of the TV and have a good chuckle. Ah. Comedy Central. Oh look, Roast Battle SA Season 2.

As we all know, a roast is not for sissies. It’s a duel of comedic insults that is not scared to push envelopes and play in the dirt – the whole point is to be as rude and insulting to one another as possible. To walk the fine line. Anyone who can’t cope is a sissy, a politically correct idiot just out there to spoil the fun, kill the free speech.

And it was working, I was laughing and having a good time. But then, as always, someone decided they’d cross the line and keep going.

Female comedienne to male comedian: “I don’t know if you can tell from the terrible outfit that he is gay. Did you tell your outfit you’re out the closet?”

Ha ha. Sigh. Like a bad cartoon we seem to insist that the biggest insult we can give a man is to call him gay. Very original. But wait, there’s more …

Male comedian to female comedienne: “After tonight, I think you will be finished. She will, after this roast, like any normal lesbian, feel like a c*nt.”

Hold up. How is this funny? How is this clever? How is this being broadcast into households across the country for kids to think is hilarious, for them to perpetuate at school, on the street?

Like the now ubiquitous bitches and hos of rap lyrics, homophobia and misogyny in comedy are the norm.

I’m not here to police comedians – I’ll do that by switching channels and not buying tickets to your shows – but I’m also done with condoning y’all, calling you cool ’cos you’re so edgy.

You’re not. You’re creatively bankrupt because you can’t manage to be truly funny without targeting minorities.

Every homophobic joke, every crude sexist one, every racist one, entrenches the norm in our social fabric.

It creates the culture that women and homosexuals must negotiate every day, the air we breathe.

To you, it’s all just a joke. To me it’s part of a norm that I have to negotiate daily, keeping my head down on the Rea Vaya, hoping this time this guy doesn’t cross the line and follow me when I get off ...