Former Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel was booted from a Columbia University stage on Friday night after attendees were offended by some of the jokes in his set.
Patel, a former Emmy-nominated writer whose career accomplishments include becoming SNL’s first Indian-American writer and an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” was performing at cultureSHOCK: Reclaim, a Columbia Asian American Alliance event, according to the Columbia Spectator.
The Spectator reported:
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.’”
About 30 minutes into Patel’s set, members of AAA interrupted the performance, denounced his jokes about racial identities and sexual orientation, and provided him with a few moments for closing remarks. Compared to his other jokes, ones specifically targeting sexual orientation audibly receive less laughter from the crowd.
Although Patel responded to officials by stating that his comedy exposed the audience to ideas found “in the real world,” his microphone was cut and he had no choice but to leave. (RELATED: Pro-Trump Comedian Opens Up About Getting Death Threats Over His Politics)
The Spectator reported several reactions to Patel’s performance. While one student did not find the jokes offensive, others were clearly disturbed at the violation of their “safe space.”
“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,” said student Adam Warren.
“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world,” said student Sofia Jao. “Obviously the world is not a safe space but just accepting that it’s not and continuing to perpetuate the un-safeness of it … is saying that it can’t be changed. 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.”