Not something to joke about

Last week was the Emmys, and while I dont usually watch that kind of stuff, I was kind of excited to hear that Jimmy Kimmel would be hosting it. I like Jimmy Kimmel, and I think he’s a funny guy. However, he made a joke at the Emmys that I definitely did not find funny.

During the Emmys, Jimmy Kimmel decided to pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches to everyone in the audience. That’s THOUSANDS of potentially deadly sandwiches.

Whilst passing them out, Kimmel asked the audience which among them had gluten allergies. After those that did raised their hands, Kimmel said that he just wanted people to know which of their favorite celebrities “were the most annoying.” Kimmel has a history of insensitivity towards gluten allergies, calling people with celiac disease “annoying” during his “What is gluten” video.

Kimmel then goes on to say that if anyone had peanut allergies “then I guess this is goodbye, because we could only afford one EpiPen.” While I appreciate a jab at Mylan as much as anyone, this kind of took it too far.

Kimmel’s joke was widely renowned as the highlight of the Emmys, but in my humble opinion, any joke about something as serious as that isn’t funny. What people need to realize is that this stuff kills people. And it isn’t like joking about allergies is a new thing.

Ricky Gervais, who I absolutely love, made a joke about it on the Tonight Show a couple months ago. He was talking with Jimmy Fallon about one of his plane trips, and how there was an announcement about how there would be no nuts served due to a severe allergy on board.

Gervais told Fallon that even though he knew that “they would blow up like a giant frog,” “he never wanted to eat nuts more” because he felt like the person was “infringing on [his] rights.”

Perhaps none of it is as vile as the words of Louis CK, another comedian. In one of his stand-up routines, he says that if touching a peanut can kill you, “maybe you deserve to die.”

It made me wonder, do people like Kimmel and Gervais, who people watch and look up to, have a responsibility not to joke about those kinds of things? Does it hurt more when a celebrity with a huge audience makes a joke out of allergies?  I think it does.  This is because if they joke about allergies, then everyone else will think it’s okay. Last week when a kid at my lunch table waved a peanut butter sandwich in my face like it was the funniest thing in the world, he didn’t think what he was doing was at all wrong.

The media plays an important role in public opinion. If the media treats allergies as a joke, everyone will think allergies are a joke. Actually, that’s kind of why I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to emphasize the seriousness of food allergies of all kinds. After all it isn’t “just a joke” if someone could be hurt.

Until next time.


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