A disgruntled member of Conan O’Brien’s writing staff made headlines recently when he said, “Comedy in 2015 needs a severe motherfucking shakeup. No celebrities, no parodies, no pranks, no mash-ups or hashtag wars.”
The critique was perhaps a bit harsh, but his point about pranks makes a whole lot of sense in the recent blunder of Cambodian TV show Penh Chet Ort (Like It Or Not).
13-year-old Autumn Allen was brought on the show and told she would be reuniting with her mother for a special Mother’s Day episode. Autumn hadn’t seen her mom since she was six, when she and her father left the US to live in Cambodia.
Before her mom came out, Autumn was crying, telling the crowd it was a ‘dream come true.’
The her ‘mom’ entered, except that it was local drag queen Chuop Rolin. Prank! How funny is that?!
The network issued an apology saying they never meant to hurt anyone’s feelings (how could that not hurt a 13-year-old’s feelings?), but many see it as both insensitive and homophobic. A “let’s all laugh at the drag queen” sort of thing.
OU Virak, an independent political analyst, said:
“The producer was stupid and brainless and heartless by playing around with the mind and heart of a 13-year-old girl in this way…The joke of the cross dressing is also a sickening joke of people of LGBT and it is just all too common on Cambodian TVs.”
“It is also time to stop the senseless ‘comedy’ of screaming and making fun of gay people. It’s discriminatory, it’s not funny when lives are affected.”
“Why do Cambodian audience finds them funny? I don’t. The sketchs are always similar with people screaming off their lungs, and then the cross dressing guy who would be abused and made to hurt. How’s that funny?”
Here’s the segment: