With every social media site or app, there are people that develop an insane amount of followers and are eventually labeled as “social media influencers” or “internet personalities”. While scrolling through the Instagram explore page recently, I came across the “comedians” category of videos and I was thoroughly disappointed. For those of you that don’t know what Instagram comedians are, it’s a group of people that take turns making appearances in each other’s terribly unfunny minute-long videos and have a huge (undeserved) amount of likes and followers. With the fall of Vine, a lot of popular Viners have migrated over to Instagram to post their content. Most of their go-to skits are about relationship problems, cheating on boyfriends/girlfriends, women using their bodies to get things from men, or sexual harassment (yes, sexual assault is used quite often as a punch line). A YouTuber that’s actually funny, Cody Ko, did a video addressing this and I think he explains it perfectly.
The first thing I feel needs to be addressed about Instagram comedians is the content they choose to upload. Not only do these comedians objectify women and portray them as airheads (@piques, @kingbach, @iamstevespence), but some of their videos revolve around blatant sexual assault. One popular Instagram “comedian” that belongs to this clique, @iamstevespence, has a reoccurring character named Esteban who tricks women into letting him touch them inappropriately and then when they question him, he poofs away. That’s it. That’s the entire skit. The thing that’s almost as bad as thinking of that character and writing multiple scripts using sexual harassment as a punch line, is agreeing to play the stereotypical airhead girl. Female Instagrammers, like Lele Pons and Amanda Cerny, usually star as the dumb girl in these skits and sometimes even in their own. This sends the wrong message to young girls and it’s been done a million times before.
Some people may say, “Learn how to take a joke” or “Just don’t watch”. Now, I am not one to get offended easily. In fact, I didn’t even think about how offensive it was the first time I saw videos under the comedian’s category with similar plots like ‘Esteban’ or videos where girls use their bodies to get things. The reason I scrolled past them is because they’re just not funny. It wasn’t until later when I realized that not only are their videos not funny whatsoever, but the plots really cross some lines. I am aware that everyone has a different sense of humor, but I can usually see why someone would think something’s funny, even if I don’t. With these skits, I’m genuinely confused why anyone, let alone millions of people, would think that this is good comedy. The fact that so much time and effort is put into making these skits is mind-blowing because I can’t find one that’s even remotely funny.
The worst part of this is the people that support these wannabe comedians by liking or commenting on their posts and following them. Over 4 million people think these channels are comedy gold and no doubt they are making huge amounts of money with each post. Something doesn’t feel right here. I decided to read comments on Steve Spence’s latest ‘Esteban’ video and I saw some mixed reviews. He even turned the comments off in his earlier ones. Only a few people caught on to how offensive and just flat out stupid the skit was, but most of them were applauding it. I left a comment saying “This is more offensive than funny,” and within minutes it was deleted and I was blocked by the account. So, I’m sure many other people have opened their eyes to the insanity that is Instagram comedy and they were just blocked as soon as they voiced their concern. I understand that no one wants hate comments on their videos, but usually comedians have to listen to some constructive criticism to find out what works and doesn’t, LIKE: Sexual assault is not a punch line. But no, not these people. If it doesn’t feed their ego, they don’t want to hear it.
All I can ask is that you just support better people. Open your eyes and see that this form of comedy is borderline contributing to rape culture. And to these “social media influencers” mentioned above and the rest of their clique, I hope you hear me out because it’s clear that you believe what you are doing is genuinely funny and everyone that disagrees with it is just a hater. I’ll leave you with some people I’ve been watching recently on YouTube and Instagram that have much better content and deserve more followers:
Elijah and Christine: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2M5KvRIDG-0WgBbgoDxweQ
Chris Klemens: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQZ6tjw7ciQZDZN5e1byByA
Jenna Marbles: https://www.youtube.com/user/JennaMarbles
Julian Solomita: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheFightingSolo
PC: Comedian Instagram Accounts