Well this one's a doozy.
Comedy Central recently aired generic white bro comic Ari Shaffir's one-hour special Passive Aggressive last week. In the opening portion of the set, he begins with a bizarre rant against fellow comedian Damienne Merlina, an overweight female comic with a physical disability (who lost her arm after a car accident). What stuck out as especially odd is that this was not the result of a feud or any particular interaction between the two (Merlina states that they've never had more than "two paragraphs" of conversation together), but a completely unprovoked misogynist/ableist attack against a woman being aired on cable television without her knowledge. He makes a point of calling her out by her full name in the set, making fun of not only her weight and physical disability, but her hygiene and personality as well.
"I was talking to this girl in Los Angeles, a comedian, her name is Damienne Merlina, she's so annoying. She's the worst. We never have anything to talk about. She's not even that annoying, we just have nothing in common. Ugh, you're killing me! She's so annoying, also, she has one arm. It's got nothing to do with the story. I'm only telling you because if you ever saw her you'd be like, 'Wait, is that her or not? Cause he didn't mention the part about the one arm, so maybe it's not her,' That's the only reason why I'm telling you. That's not why she's annoying, if that's what you think. I knew her when she had two arms. She was just as annoying then. The only thing that changed is one day her arm-to-annoyance ratio just shot the fuck up. That's the only difference.
She was yapping about something I couldn't care less about, and I'm doing the look-around at all my friends, and she smelled, she stunk. She had that fat smell, you know the fat smell? Not every fat person has it, but one out of twelve fat people. They're fat in a certain way, so that when they're showering they can't reach under to wash under their belly fold, like, just can't get under there for whatever reason. I'm sure the one arm didn't help. [mimes a disabled person's arm movements]
So what'll happen is sometimes an immigrant will just crawl up in there, and he'll just die, he'll die of heat exhaustion, or loneliness, starvation, I haven't read all the papers. But he dies, and then you talk to them, you're like, 'There's no God, clearly, how do you smell that way? It's cool out, how do you smell this bad?' We should just walk away, God. I really do wanna stop letting people I hate choose the way I live."
Merlina's own heartbreaking video response highlights the pain she's faced in her life as a person with disabilities:
Clearly this didn't sit well with Comedy Central's audience. Some people are questioning why Comedy Central's censors allowed this to air with her full name not beeped out. Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger penned an op-ed expressing disgust over the comments made by Shaffir, who she considers a friend. The main takeaway of her piece is: there's not much attention being paid in the comedy community to what is basically the public humiliation of an innocent woman in front of a national audience- and that's sad.
Stay classy, straight white dudes.
Found Ari Shaffir's set list for his Comedy Central special. pic.twitter.com/YQ0XBaQsqM— Dan Clyne (@danCLYNE) March 28, 2015
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Transcription/summary by moi