Charles Demers, a Vancouver-based comedian, writer and political activist, said the case sets an unsettling precedent for comedians.
“This ruling is going to have an impact on professional comics who are now going to have a harder time starting up in new venues,” Demers said.
“They’re going to have a harder time getting restaurants and bars to start up comedy nights because now [the restaurants and bars are] going to be worried that they’re on the hook.”
But while Demers is concerned about free speech as it relates to his profession, he said he considers himself “as much invested in the fight against homophobia as in the fight for comedy,” and wouldn’t want to align himself with someone making hateful, homophobic comments.
“I’ve never been heckled by someone and said, ‘What’s their sexual orientation, or what’s their racial origin?’” he said.
“I’ve dealt with hecklers in ways that are not hateful to whatever group they visibly come from.”
Donovan Mahoney, a Vancouver-based comedian and promoter, said the topics of race and sexual orientation are only successful when approached intelligently.
“If you say something mean to somebody, it doesn’t matter what format it’s in, it’s mean, and people see through that,” Mahoney said. “Mean spirited stuff, I’ve seen people do it and I kind of cringe, because in my mind, comedy is very smart. A good comic is smart.”
Comedic performer Ruven Klausner said while Earle might have offended and embarrassed Pardy, he doesn't believe Earle violated her human rights.
“He might have violated her sense of entertainment, but we all have to endure that sometimes when we go to comedy shows,” Klausner said with a laugh.
“I just believe it's one of those situations where, if you don't like it, leave.”
Klausner also found it worrisome that the case could discourage business owners from having live entertainment.
Gregg Scott, who did standup for several years, said it seemed Earle’s biggest mistake was that he wasn’t funny.
“For a good comic, a heckle can be an opportunity for creating new comedy,” Scott said.
“If the response was an attack, or perceived as one, there still are a number of approaches to take before slandering — [such as] being funny.”Yeah, I'm sure if his insults had been funnier, none of this would have happened. ;)
No jokes in Islam? For sure. But now because of the local enforcers of piety, the deacons of insipid niceness, there will likely be far fewer--and far more anodyne--jokes in Canada. In fact, they may end up killing the comedy scene completely, because who wants to pay good money to hear comedians who refuse to say anything "mean"; comics with the "human rights" apparatchik seal of approval? In the words of an old time funny man and/or fowl: "What a revoltin' development this is."