Mike Ward and the Right to be an Arsehole


Montreal is home to many festivals. One of the biggest is the annual comedy extravaganza Just For Laughs. This year a very serious topic has been getting as much attention as the jokes.

Comedian Mike Ward has been fined some $42,000 after a human rights tribunal deemed comments he made about Jérémy Gabriel, a disabled singer, to be an infringement of Gabriel’s rights.

While I understand Ward’s claim to freedom of expression, I also think he was an asshole to do it.

Ward has engaged the services of Montreal lawyer Julius Grey to appeal the ruling. Ward states that he makes fun of everyone, it is what he does, it is his act. He was not picking on Gabriel, but was including him in his rant. Gabriel and his family failed to see the humour in this and launched a legal action.

Ward’s fellow comedians are rallying behind him to help raise cash for his appeal, including a benefit

That is not showing one’s talent or skill, it is merely getting cheap laughs by embarrassing people.

While I understand Ward’s claim to freedom of expression, I also think he was an asshole to do it. Is this what the world of stand-up comedy has dipped to? I like to think I have a pretty fair sense of humour. Yet I have never found funny those alleged comedians who rely on making fools of their audience, and I do not know if Ward does this, for a few chuckles. That is not showing one’s talent or skill, it is merely getting cheap laughs by embarrassing people. I can recall one guy who used to use a flashlight to pick out members of the audience for ridicule.

In a society that has gone anti-bullying mad, how can people still find this funny, whether he has the right to do it or not?

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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