Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

Dear Unfunny Comic

Nicole Arbour, the YouTube “comic” who most recently chased controversy with her Dear Fat People video, is at it again with a new video titled Dear Black People.  I can already feel you tensing up and squirming in your chair.  But this video is truly not what you think.

The most offensive part of this video is that it’s being passed off as comedy when it’s really not that funny.  Sure, if I dig a little, I can squeeze out some bits that might seem controversial or upsetting. There’s a part where Arbour calls out American-born Caribbean people who fake their accents and deep ties to Caribbean culture.  There’s also a part where she accuses black people of appropriating white culture by going to Starbucks.  There’s even multiple appearances by her black friend throughout the video to ensure the audience she’s not a racist.

I personally enjoy when comedians tackle race because it gives us a way to dive into a serious issue without getting super political.  As long as the jokes are not in poor taste, it also gives us a little leeway to get deeper into some topics that we’d otherwise feel uncomfortable discussing.  Black comics often use race in their material, but it’s really rare to see white comics go there unless you’re watching a Comedy Central Roast.

The problem with this video is that it plays like a Mad TV sketch left on the cutting room floor back in the 90s.  The references to black stereotypes are dated.  This has to be the millionth joke about black guys having big penises.  Surely in the age of Instagram and Snapchat, you can find some new material or at least a new way to tell an old joke. And there’s no real depth to any of the jokes.  This isn’t a comic who went through several rewrites to get the best jokes possible and encourage real conversation.  This is more like stream of consciousness rambling with all of the edits made in iMovie.  It’s a sad attempt at stirring the race pot but it doesn’t even get close to a boil.

I’m offended, not by the nature of the jokes or even the material covered in those jokes, but by the amount of people who’ve watched this video and consider it real comedy.  Arbour wouldn’t be able to hack it in the first round of Last Comic Standing.  The people who find this garbage funny probably also thought this past weekend’s Donald Trump SNL episode was funny too-a true indication of an undeveloped, sophomoric sense of humor.

I’m all for getting a conversation going about race by way of comedy.  The jokes just need to be hilarious, poignant, and timely.  Sadly, none of that was present in Dear Black People. 

See for yourself below.

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