knockout drop joke
Joyce Ilg and Faisal Kawusi: I don’t get it and it’s not even funny
Joyce Ilg received sharp criticism for a controversial joke on Instagram. She referred to artistic freedom in a statement. A bad defense.
It’s been three days since Joyce Ilg wrote the following caption for a selfie with Luke Mockridge: “Did any of you find eggs here? I only got a few ko drops.” The reactions to it were mostly scathing. Ilg also received criticism from colleagues and fans. That was not only because of the joke itself, but also because of the context in which it was ripped, a photo with mockridge.
Joyce Ilg: Criticism of knockout drop joke
It was meant to be a reference to a joke from Mockridge’s previous stage performances. But Mockridge’s past also played a role in the criticism of Ilg’s saying. An ex-girlfriend has accused the comedian of attempted rape, and the case has been dropped. He denies the allegations. “Der Spiegel” reported extensively last year on the alleged misconduct of the 33-year-old. He also denies these allegations. And yet Ilg saw a picture with Mockridge as a good opportunity to crack a joke about knockout drops.
The overwhelming criticism left Ilg rather cold afterwards. She complained about receiving death threats and tried to explain her joke. Speaking of death threats. When songwriter Silvi Carlsson commented that she herself had had knockout drops mixed into the drink, Ilg’s colleague Faisal Kawusi replied: “Next time I’ll increase the dose, I promise.”
Not good comedy
Stepping down is easy, but is it good humor? According to behavioral scientist and psychologist Peter McGraw, a good joke has to hit a sore spot, because people can laugh at moral offenses. Ricky Gervais, who also became known for his jokes at the expense of other people, is a good example. According to McGraw, however, there is a fine line that he explains in his “Benign Violation Theory”: A joke is just not funny if it is made at the expense of rape victims.
“For an injury to evoke humor, it must also be perceived as harmless. That means it must appear okay, safe, or acceptable,” explains the researcher. A rape joke is never good comedy. It’s even worse when he’s snapped in the presence of someone accused of wrongdoing. “The joke is written so badly that it could be by Luke Mockridge” – that’s how the author Sophie Passmann put it.
Instead of introspecting and allowing (constructive) criticism to sink in, Joyce Ilg lost himself in explanations and referred again and again to the boundless freedom of art. As if someone wanted to forbid her free speech. Of course, art knows no borders. But art knows quality and above all: lack of quality.