Confronting Offensive Comedy on Campus and Beyond

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This past weekend Beyond Therapy, Kenyon’s sketch comedy troupe put on a show. They performed on Friday and Saturday night. The Friday night show opened to an engaged audience who laughed steadily throughout the show and left with mainly positive comments. The Saturday night show was received very differently, a portion of the audience exited the Black Box during the show and those who stayed laughed hesitantly or stayed silent. I was in attendance for the Saturday night show and after the show that night and throughout the day on Sunday I heard a variety of impassioned reactions. The most common response that was relayed to me and that I will admit feeling myself was that the show was unnecessarily offensive. The show joked about issues such as gun violence with adults and small children, sexual promiscuity, abortion, rape, and sexual harassment. I spoke to Mike Jest ’15, co-president of Beyond Therapy and Thrill staffer, and John Foley ’15, member of Beyond Therapy in order to address the issue of offensiveness and boundary crossing in comedy at Kenyon and beyond.

Izzy Sanderson: The Beyond Therapy show took place this weekend and as I state above, it received some mixed feedback. What do you think Beyond Therapy’s reputation at Kenyon is?

Mike Jest: I will acknowledge that we might have a reputation for boundary pushing by Kenyon College standards. Continue reading