12/06/2018

Columbia University Students Kick Former SNL Comedian Nimesh Patel Off Stage For Making Unsafe Jokes

Robby Soave, Reason

Nimesh Patel, a comedian and former writer for Saturday Night Live,* was yanked from the stage in the midst of his routine at Columbia University on Friday after students decided his material was homophobic, racist, and making them feel unsafe.

Columbia's Asian American Alliance (AAA) had invited Patel to perform during the group's annual charity event, "Cultureshock: Reclaim," a title that sounds a little too exciting and provocative, honestly, given the students' apparent need for maximum security and comfort.

AAA is run by students, which means it was their decision to pull Patel from the stage after he made jokes that they deemed racist and homophobic, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator. I emailed AAA to ask what exactly Patel said that was so offensive; the group sent me a statement that did not clarify matters.

The Spectator, though, lists one of the allegedly inappropriate jokes:

During the event, Patel's performance featured commentary on his experience living in a diverse area of New York City—including a joke about a gay, black man in his neighborhood—which AAA officials deemed inappropriate. Patel joked that being gay cannot be a choice because "no one looks in the mirror and thinks, 'this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.'"

The joke acknowledges that black people and gay people suffer oppression, and that a person who is both gay and black suffers "stacked" oppression. This joke seems almost perfectly "intersectional."

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