If you haven’t heard about the Chick-Fil-A scandal from newspaper headlines or heated debates on your Facebook feed then you’ve probably heard about it in the form of jokes, skits, or rants from the comedy world. Comedians not only provide us with laughs but also social commentary on current events, and with the case of Chick-Fil-A, a negative reaction to the company’s anti-gay agenda.
Chick-Fil-A, the Atlanta based fast food chain, has had a history of donating money to anti-gay/same sex marriage organizations. The controversy really began to meet the public’s attention after an interview with the President Don Cathy by the Baptist Press, who confirmed the company’s stance on the issue along with some anti-gay remarks.
Despite some support from anti-gay groups the public has come down hard on the fast food chain, especially comedians who not only have a firm stance on the matter, but can also voice it in creative ways that grab the public’s attention.
Before the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr aired, Roastmaster Jane Lynch was already making the news from her remarks about Chick-Fil-A during her opening monologue. Barr, among the many other post-menopausal guests lined up, were subject to a joke made by Lynch, “This show is serving up more old spoiled hens than a Chick-fil-A.” Then taking it one step futher adding, “Oh, that reminds me… F*ck Chick-fil-A.”
Lynch, an out lesbian herself, got a loud and encouraging applause from the audience after her remarks. What makes comedy such a great outlet for social issues is the ability for a comedian to be vulnerable and personal as well as bold and brash. The likability of Lynch along with the reaction to her statement shows the public support of people closest to the matter.
The controversy also garnered a Funny or Die video. In early August the site featured the, “KFC Loves Gays Featuring John Goodman.” The tongue and cheek video features Goodman as Colonel Sanders who jumped on the backlash from his rival Chick-Fil-A, making a pro-gay commercial for his chain.
The over the top portrayal features the Colonel trying to gain support from the gay communities, from listening to Bette Midler and being surrounded by a group of young men, which ultimately is in reflection of how ridiculous it is that a fast food chain would make such a stance at all. Unlike rants or blatant jokes, Funny or Die was able to subtly show their commentary of the controversy in a subtle non-threatening way.
Even lesser known, up and comer comedians are voicing their opinions on the matter. Geoffrey Ian Bara, an out gay comedian, took a break from the jokes to post a heart-felt statement about why the Chick-Fil-A statements were invalid and presented the scandal within a bigger picture than simply a company making a stance on a public issue. His final words to the company being of course to, “Cluck off.”
Whether sincere or humorous, comedians stand up and are often extremely outspoken about social causes. In times when comedians are being put under the microscope for any off color remark they say, the bigger picture shows that comedians stand up for everyone and provide a voice for what they think is right.
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About the Author: Currently working on my B.A in Film Studies at CSU Sacramento full time, working part time, and playing the rest of the time. Began my love of comedy with Gene Wilder, and haven't looked back. Tweet me @steviewho