2015-09-13 – Stephen Colbert crossed a new line in comedy on Thursday.
Over the years, we’ve seen comedians cross lines about taboo speech, about race, about sex, about immigration, about women, about women and sex. Crossing lines is very edgy. And now Stephen Colbert has crossed a comedy line that was so taboo that you probably didn’t even think of it as a taboo. Well, maybe you did.
The taboo is comforting a mourner.
We as a society get all icky about talking to people who have suffered grave loss. Sure we’ll go to some sort of formal ceremony. (Gotta show off the black in my wardrobe.) But having a laugh with a person who has lost a loved one. No way! Get me outta here!
And now Stephen Colbert has gone and done it on national television. (Click here to see his interview with Joe Biden – Part 1 and Part 2.)
You know he’s hit pay dirt when people say, “I shouldn’t be laughing at this,” with tears in their eyes.
I’m hoping this will become a regular segment in his show called “Speaking of Death With Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA.”
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This evening is the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The year is 5776. I want to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous year.
As you probably know, Rosh Hashanah is very different from the secular new year. It is a time of family. It is a time of reflection. It is a time for renewing one’s commitment to living life as a mensch.
It’s about cleansing yourself and not about cleansing others. In a society that abhors apologies as a sign of weakness, it is about saying you are sorry.
It’s about comforting mourners.
And we are all mourners.
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