I watched The Chaser’s War on Everything on Wednesday night and found the skit on the Make a Realistic Wish Foundation funny.
The line “they're only going to die anyway” cracked me up.
Obviously, many other people don’t share this view. They are entitled to this opinion, as I am to mine.
Mind you, a couple of points do occur.
If a comedy show you intend to watch has a classification warning at the start, then there’s a chance it may contain material that you will find offensive.
If the comedy show you intend to watch has a solid, well-known reputation for bad taste and black comedy, then the chances of you being offended goes up accordingly.
If the comedy show you intend to watch is called The Chaser’s War on Everything don’t be too surprised if it has a go at... everything.
And if a child of mine had a terminal or life threatening illness, I’m guessing there might be other things to do, rather than taking such bitter offense about a one minute TV segment that the combined reaction of thousands of viewers having a hissy fit becomes a media circus and prolongs that same offense over the course of several days.
Finally, as to the idea that some topics are just too serious, too sensitive or too important, and therefore must never be used as the basis for comedy, I’ll hand over to PJ O’Rourke (who admittedly was writing in the mid-eighties about the left versus right but it does go to a certain mindset on humour).
He explains in the intro to Republican Party Reptile that some people, for example those who are deeply concerned about sexism in language or fear the government is hiding nuclear waste in their fridge, can’t be expected to have a sense of humour.
And they don’t. Radicals and liberals and such want all jokes to have a “meaning,” to “make a point”. But laughter is involuntary and points are not. A conservative may tell you that you shouldn’t make fun of something. “You shouldn’t make fun of cripples,” he may say. And he may be right. But a liberal will tell you, “You can’t make fun of cripples.” And he’s wrong - as anybody who’s heard the one about Helen Keller falling into a well and breaking three fingers calling for help can tell you.”
To quote another funny man, who spent time in the comedy bad taste trenches, "Oh, you're going straight to hell for that one."