I believe it was comedian Gilbert Gottfried who said, "If the world ended, there would be one person left, making a joke about it." Gottfried knows from which he speaks. He was fired by insurance company Aflac after making a series of Japanese tsunami jokes on Twitter shortly after the tragedy. Other comedians have gotten in similar trouble for their comments. Even people who aren't comedians can make jokes that get them into hot water -- like Iraqi war correspondant Nir Rosen found out when he made a series of edgy Tweets about Lara Logan, who was raped while covering the uprising in Egypt. So when the Aurora, Colorado massacre happened, one of the first things I wondered was when someone (probably a comedian) would joke about it on Twitter. Someone did -- and suffered the expected backlash -- but I didn't expect that someone to be a Playboy model.
A mere 24 hours after James Holmes snuffed out 12 lives in a Dark Knight Rising screening, model Tricia Evans tweeted:
I heard the new Batman movie was really "to die for"! Too soon?
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This prompted a storm of outraged replies, including death threats (as if death threats via Twitter are somehow better than crude jokes?). Tweeted famous music producer and DJ Deadmau5:
Good to know. @HollywoodTricia I seriously had no idea how big of a piece of s*** you are. Unfollowed.
The comedy Twitverse hasn't exactly rallied around Tricia like they did with Daniel Tosh, who caused an uproar after making rape jokes at a stand-up show. Probably because she's not a comedian. Many have pointed out that her joke wasn't even "funny" -- perhaps it if had been, comedians would have come to her defense? I have no idea.
Tricia seems to be taking the controvery in stride, even going on to post some nude pictures of herself in her Tweet feed after garnering followers and attention. In fact, the fiesty model hasn't exactly apologized (except for one quick tweet), and continues to tweet about her "joke."
Tricia isn't a bad person. Her feed is filled with pleas to save animals on death row. Was her joke in poor taste? Yep. Lots of humor is in poor taste. Humor is a coping mechanism for even the most horrific of tragedies (look up "Holocaust jokes" if you don't believe me). But jokes that before Twitter might have been relatively private -- or unleashed on an audience that has paid to see you and knows what to expect -- are now public if you post them there. And not everyone is going to "get" your humor. In fact, many people have no sense of humor whatsoever. I've been blogging for years and am still astonished at how many jokes of mine are taken in utter seriousness by various readers.
But if you're going to make jokes about a tragedy, be prepared for the fallout and backlash. Looks like Tricia is. She seems like she might even be enjoying it.
Do you ever make jokes about horrible events?