A Former Saturday Night Live writer is at ends with Columbia University students over an “inappropriate” joke about gay black men.
Members of Columbia’s Asian American Alliance (or AAA) threw their annual charity showcase titled “cultureSHOCK: Reclaim” this past Friday night. The theme of the event is to celebrate Asian American artistic express and honor the adversity faced by the minority group and all its subcultures.
Hoping that he would speak on that message, the club’s members invited Nimesh Patel to speak at the event. Unfortunately, they didn’t like what he eventually said.
According to the Columbia Daily Spectator, Patel made a comment about being gay and black that officers in the AAA didn’t like.
32-year-old Patel made a joke assessing that being gay isn’t a choice. After all, “no one looks in the mirror and thinks, ‘this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.’”
It seems that joke didn’t carry well with members of the AAA as Patel was asked to wrap up his set after 30 minutes into it.
In response, Patel insists that his comments weren’t offensive. He also remarked that his joke was exposing the students to ideas that would be found “in the real world.” Unfortunately, Patel’s mic was then cut off and the comedian left the stage.
This event then became infamous at Columbia and even reached the ears of some news sources. Students at the school have then shared multiple viewpoints on the issue.
“None of [Patel’s lines] were jokes that I hadn’t heard before and none of them were jokes that elicited such a response [as the AAA’s] in my experience,” said freshman Elle Ferguson.
"The message they were trying to send with the event was opposite to the jokes he was making, and using people’s ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive…He definitely wasn’t the most crass comedian I’ve ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate,” added fellow Freshman Adam Warren.
As for Freshman Sofia Jao, the performance itself wasn’t the problem. Instead, she was bothered by Patel’s reaction to the AAA’s opposition.
“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world… When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it’s like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer.”