March 7, 2011

Trash Talking Celebrities

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 1:36 am

By: Ben Fortkamp

Celebrity voyeurism is the idea of having or knowing personal information about celebrities, while also wanting to know more about these celebrities’ day-to-day lives.  And this is very true today as more and more regular people (such as those reading this blog) want to know the latest information about the celebrities. So knowing this, today’s top comedians are starting to use celebrities and the celebrities’ lifestyles as subject matter in their acts. Comedians know that our society is obsessed with pop culture and the celebrities that make it up, so they use public and sometimes private information about these celebrities to make an audience laugh.  The supporters of voyeuristic comedians should continue to follow them because the comedians are only poking fun at celebrities who are considered to be “outrageous and asking for it.”

To even begin to appeal to their audiences, comedians need to know what interest the people they are reaching out to. And it is a safe bet to say that putting personal stories about celebrities in their act will definitely keep the attention of the audience. Celebrities’ personal lives are becoming more and more entertaining to people, and more information and personal details are wanted about celebrities every day. According to Psychology Today, people are becoming obsessed with celebrities because they see celebrities as an “integral part of culture.” This simply means that because the media puts more effort and emphasis on celebrity lives, people feel like celebrities are a part of their culture and need to be paid more attention.

Seeing and knowing all of this, comedians are putting celebrities in their act and are making quite a bit of money for doing so. Whether the comedians are telling about personal encounters they have had with celebrities, or just news that has come up about celebrities, comedians are banking off of celebrities’ lives. For example Kathy Griffin has been putting celebrities in her act ever since she started out two decades ago, and she has been able to amass a net worth of fifteen million dollars, according to Griffin is not the only comedian to be making money off of celebrities either. Joan Rivers and Ricky Gervais are also comedians that have benefited off of putting celebrities in their acts making fifty and eighty million dollars respectively. These comedians and more see that celebrities are hot subjects, so they use that to their advantage and make a living for doing so.

However, the controversy exerted from all of this, is that some people feel the use of celebrities in comedians’ acts is a type of bullying. Again, for example, Kathy Griffin has received a lot of press about her latest stint, and past stints, in which she called Bristol Palin “the white Precious” in response to Plain allegedly gaining weight on Dancing with the Stars. This is just one example of Griffin receiving criticism for the things she has said about celebrities. There are plenty more that she and other comedians have received for putting celebrities in their acts.  However, these celebrities have to know that when they live this type of lifestyle, people are going to take notice and will be saying good and bad things about them.  And especially those celebrities that are outrageous in their lifestyles and do not hold back in the public eye.  People will take notice if a celebrities life is out of control, and the celebrities can be very sure that some comedian will be using them in their next gig.

So really the fans and audience members of the celebrity voyeurist, should continue to support the comedians that they find funny, even if they use celebrity voyeurism. The fans have to know the celebrities are putting themselves out there for this type of criticism, and it is this writers opinion that the celebrities in these acts have it coming to them.

Below are some links of comedians using celebrities in their acts:

Kathy Griffin

Joan Rivers

Ricky Gervais


  1. There is a risk to every decision made by an individual. When a person desires to be part of the public eye there will be a consequence. This consequence is often foregoing one’s privacy. If celebrities choose this lifestyle there will always be scrutiny from the media. When comedians choose to make jokes about sensitive topics revolved around celebrities they are also taking a risk. Comedians risk losing or attaining a strong fan base from jokes that can be viewed as cruel or humorous. Overall, I think it is a risk on both parts. Celebrities know what they are signing up for and comedians know what can result from this type of criticism. – Jennifer Burwell

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 7, 2011 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  2. Kyle Gooding

    I agree with the above comment. Celebrities obviously know that with great fame comes great scrutiny. The comedians mentioned do make a living off of making fun of these important people but maybe this criticizing is not such a bad thing. Celebrities seem to have it all going for them so why shouldn’t we get the occasional laugh out of their less polished side? And at the same time these comedians are becoming celebrities themselves which means the cycle will continue and they will be made fun of by up and coming rookie comedians. Evidence of this can be seen on shows like “Family Guy” that make fun of just about everyone, no matter what their background. I’m sure these comedians have and will continue to cross boundaries that should remain unbroken, but occasionally poking fun at these celebrity giants doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me. This is one way of harmlessly sticking it to the man.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 8, 2011 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  3. As is mentioned in the article the United States is becoming celebrity obsessed. Celebrities are constantly in the media, and there are many television shows and magazines dedicated to them. With that said it would make perfect sense that stand-up comedians, who tend to make societal observations, are including celebrities in their act. I do no find anything wrong with the comedians profit at the expense of celebrities. I believe in Andy Warhol’s philosophy that celebrities are only copies of their true selves, we as the public do not really know those people. All we know is what’s reported which is often time false. I don’t think the comedians are taking personal shots at people, only the image a celebrity has. It is a confusing idea to articulate, but its best summed up by one of Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe duplicates. Celebrities real lives are not being violated by comedians in my opinion, only their likeness.

    Comment by Andrew Hare — March 9, 2011 @ 10:35 am | Reply


    First, these celebrities are choosing to put themselves to the public. Everything about their lives are made available by them. For some reason people love looking at celebs’ lives and follow them almost everyday. I do not understand it. I think that they are just other people that have a lot of money, and I’m not going to waste my time reading about them everyday. On the comedian side, I do not see why they shouldnt use celebrities’ lives in their skits. People are obsessed with them, and will come to a performance if they know a comedian is going to talk about them. In no way do I think that this is a form of bullying by the comedians. Do the people not know that the celebs made all of the information public on their own? To me its fair game, and if it is going to make a comedian a lot of money, then do it. If celebs do not like being made fun of then maybe they will think before they tweet or release anything else about the private life.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 1:46 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: