Punching Up

There is a discussion among comedians about punching up vs. punching down. Meaning you can punch jokes and make fun of those who are above you. Those jokes can be funny. But those who are below you, like rape victims, disabled people, or fat people are people you punch down. And punching down isn’t funny or fair. Making fun of other people’s problems isn’t funny. Can we go back to being funny?

Please use the open space below to share your first 50 words on the topic “punching up.”


Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

One thought on “Punching Up”

  1. My cousin was adept at fart jokes and at poking fun at fat people, or imitating people with lisps. He would elicit uproarious laughter, and be smug in his contentment. But somewhere deep down , he made people feel uncomfortable with all his “punching down ” as you call it . It was an exercise in distaste. We , even as kids could feel it.

    There was a fancy dress competition. I dressed up as the local tramp , and was practicing his trembly lisp and wild gait (result of a childhood polio attack). My mother stopped me . She didn’t explain much. She just said it didn’t seem right, to make fun of a poor , unprivileged soul. I would have elicited laughs , no doubt . May be a prize too . But I listened to her. The tramp used to hang around the school. Sometimes helping in the hosing down of the buses.

    All the difficult and dangerous tasks , like climbing on the sloping shingled roof to retrieve last years flag , was done by him . He did it with his strange lisping-sobbing laughter , which sounded more like hiccups. He was probably unaware of the dangers , and no one had bothered to educate him.

    Then one day , my cousin was in dire straits.

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