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“If you put ‘Triggered’ over any stock photo of a smug man on a plain background it actually looks like a genuine Netflix comedy special thumbnail,” Jay Baylis tweeted, kicking off the trend.
If you put "Triggered" over any stock photo of a smug man on a plain background it actually looks like a genuine netflix comedy special thumbnail pic.twitter.com/Zry3Ayq6va— Jay Baylis (@SamuriFerret) September 13, 2019
And the results are a little too on the nose. “I thought these were legit before I read the tweet lol,” Twitter user @dreamsarentrea1 wrote.
This is very nice work, especially considering Netflix only out slightly more effort into this pud’s actual comedy special pic.twitter.com/7EhrvECVyU— BRAAAAAAIIINS! Christopher (@eviltaylorhicks) September 13, 2019
I thought these were legit before I read the tweet lol— Blue Chew Ambassador (@dreamsarentrea1) September 13, 2019
I legit got angry at Netflix for a moment like "what the hell you guys" before I saw it was fake, that's how generically real these white dude 'comedians' look— Gag us ALL with a spoon, Mrs Henderson (@Liz_McAnder) September 13, 2019
I was scrolling, saw the images and thought "Netflix let some intern make these but didn't give them the Shutterstock password?"— Thea Card (@theacard) September 13, 2019
People began sharing their own versions of the tweet–even featuring the likes of right-wing political commentator Ben Shapiro and Donald Trump Jr. “No way this works so well,” a shocked Twitter user wrote, along with their own, similar creation.
WTF it works pic.twitter.com/MLMuI3aywy— professional egg licker (@MMStinks) September 13, 2019
no way this works so well pic.twitter.com/6jvRGwl8NK— CJay (@tjpc3) September 13, 2019
i offer you my original netflix comedy special pic.twitter.com/YIz9Ru298g— danny UwU (@gayrudeboy) September 13, 2019
Here's mine: pic.twitter.com/YPxU2pm1bg— Chris Amburn, New Experience Workshop (@NEWgamespage) September 14, 2019
Did I go to far? pic.twitter.com/4Jj1Qteu4S— NOHUA (@NoHumanzA) September 13, 2019
Even Art Decider dubbed the trend “art.”
Art.— Art Or Not Art (@ArtDecider) September 14, 2019
White male comedians are known to say they’re “pushing boundaries” or “being edgy” when they use offensive content. They often go against “cancel culture,” which is when people refuse to purchase or watch content from others who are racist, sexist, or homophobic.
“They wax poetic about how stand-up comedy today is too politically correct, too serious, too analytical,” wrote Cristina Ouch for Medium in 2018.
For example, earlier this week people criticized Saturday Night Live for hiring stand-up comedian Shane Gillis. People began sharing videos of offensive comments he made in his bits, such as in a 2018 podcast. During the podcast, he and his friend made fun of Chinese and Asian people’s food and culture.
“That’s more annoying than any other minority playing music at a restaurant … An Asian trying to learn English bothers me more than someone listening to like Lil Uzi Vert while I’m trying to eat fucking dinner,” Gillis said in the podcast.
He follows up the comment by saying, “nice racism, that’s good racism.” Gillis and his co-host go on to talk about how people are too politically correct and that white men shouldn’t be held to a different standard than minorities.
today SNL announced the hiring of its first cast member of East Asian descent, and also this guy pic.twitter.com/0FAGJZJUkK— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019
In response to the backlash, Gillis released a statement on Twitter, saying he’s a comedian who “pushes boundaries.”
“My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks,” he tweeted on Thursday.
People seem divided on what they think about white male comedians making offensive comments for the sake of “pushing boundaries.” “Damn PC culture has really killed comedy,” Twitter user @tacoflashlight wrote.
Just be be clear, if we continue to vet young comedians breaking into the mainstream more rigorously for political correctness violations than we did our president, the “comedy” of the future is going to be even more boring than it is today.#ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) September 13, 2019
damn PC culture has really killed comedy. when I was young, you could make unfunny generalizations about asian people and it would get a laugh. now days, not even the podcast cohost will laugh. damn shame.— tacoflashlight🌮🔦 (@tacoflashlight) September 13, 2019
But many pointed out that “pushing boundaries” is just an excuse to make racist, sexist, and other offensive comments and that the bar is too low for white male comedians. “The comedy industry is so fucking boring and bland and stock full of white men (and other) who dribble out the same shitty harmful jokes and jerk themselves off for providing ‘real’ insights into how the world is,” Twitter user
making jokes that chinese food is bad and that asian people say words funny is literally the least risky form of comedy that has been peddled by decades of racist white men https://t.co/vNQKtmnDy1— David Zhou (@dz) September 13, 2019
unpopular opinion- the comedy industry is so fucking boring and bland and stock full of white men (and other) who dribble out the same shitty harmful jokes and jerk themselves off for providing 'real' insights into how the world is https://t.co/yIqWeAh0Po— local farm owner (@_cirrocumulus) September 14, 2019
when will white men stop thinking that homophobic and racist slurs is the epitome of revolutionizing comedy https://t.co/D6gcXgwdLB— i will not pay my fcking taxes i will commit tax f (@bussylipgloss) September 13, 2019
White people, men in particular, tend to build their "comedy" careers off of discrimination and slurs.— Alex🍂 (@Alexandra_Pec) September 14, 2019
Saying it's just a joke or laughing before or after discriminatory statements and words does not change their meaning or impact. https://t.co/vWJKbnZ1iY
Sierra Juarez is a freelance journalist and fact-checker based in Mexico. She most enjoys writing about human rights and politics and working in audience engagement. Her work has appeared in the Texas Tribune, the Austin American–Statesman, and the San Antonio Current.