The kawusi dilemma interpretation struggle over a bad joke

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The Kawusi dilemma: the battle over the interpretation of a bad joke

The kawusi dilemma interpretation battle over a bad joke

Comedian Faisal Kawusi is always getting into mischief.

Comedians Joyce Ilg and Faisal Kawusi made a joke about K.-o.-Drops made – now there is a dispute about whether it is allowed to do so. Do comedians have to be considerate of their audience's sensitivities? An attempt to rehash an internet debate.

23.04.2022, 10:28

Hanover. Someone makes a tasteless joke, everyone gets upset about it, and in the end there is a discussion about the limits of humor. Hundreds of times this has happened, hundreds of times will follow – and also the most current case of this kind has exactly the same pattern.

A solution? Difficult.

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The case of Joyce Ilg

For those who have better things to do than spend hours digging through the depths of Instagram stories and Twitter threads, the case of Joyce Ilg and Faisal Kawusi can be explained briefly at this point.

The actress and comedian Ilg had herself photographed on Instagram with comedian friend Luke Mockridge and wrote a caption to the photo. It reads, "Have any of you found eggs here? I have only a few K.-o.-Get drops."

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On Instagram alone, the post received around 20 likes within a very short time.000 comments, also in countless tweets the topic is taken up. Mockridge is a controversial figure, activists and "Sinnfluencerinnen" make entire Instagram stories the case. The tenor: highly distasteful. Many call on Ilg to delete the post.

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Kawusi insults influencer

"Disrespectful to all those affected," outraged Influencer Louisa Dellert, activist Saskia Michalski finds the post "off the mark to the max," author Jasmina Kuhnke sees in the post a "sideswipe that comes at the expense of victims of sexualized violence," and a Youtuber and Influencer comments on the post twice with a personal experience: "Am almost once at K.-o.-Drop died. Not cool, Joyce. Again."

This comment then in turn calls the comedian Faisal Kawusi on the plan. He comments on the complaint: "Next time I'll increase the dose, I promise."

What follows the tasteless gaffe is an unparalleled battle of commentaries, a tantrum by Kawusi (he now wants to open the hunt for his critics), the multiple demand that the station Sat.1 should immediately end all projects with Ilg and Kawusi, a statement from Sat.1 (one had ended the cooperation with Kawusi anyway long ago) and finally a kleinlauter retreat of the Comedians themselves: "I would like to ask sincerely for my statement made yesterday for apology."

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Mud-slinging in Instagram tiles

At this point, one could put the case to rest before it becomes even more unpleasant. But it's not that simple.

The controversy around Ilg and Kawusi stands in the meantime symbolically for something, which occurred again and again in the past months: It is the fight of two world views, the fight around the border of the Sagbares. The advocates of a very stubborn idea of artistic freedom and "black humor" are irreconcilably opposed to those who make their own vulnerability the yardstick of everything possible. And finally, everyone is fighting for the interpretive authority of a bad joke.

The result: provocation, the expected reaction, an unprecedented internet mudslinging, fought out in Instagram tiles, Twitter threads and statement videos. And in the end no one wins.

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Provocation as a business model

One of the actors, Faisal Kawusi, has made crossing the line firmly his business model in recent years. Time and again, the 30-year-old breaks taboos, such as during a live performance at the 1 Live Comedy Night in 2017. That's when he racially insulted "Let's Dance" judge Motsi Mabuse on stage and apologized only after she called in her lawyer. Again, a massive protest on social media was the result.

All this has not harmed the comedian so far, on the contrary. At the comedy night of the public broadcaster 1 Live Kawusi was again on stage last year, he got shows in Sat.1 and is a welcome guest in all kinds of formats. The 30-year-old is also a sought-after comedian in other respects: Just for this. Next year, 50 performances have been announced as part of his tour. And from the purposeful taboo break the Comedian developed long a whole mark core.

"Politisch InKorrekt" is the name of Kawusi's current stage program – the descriptive text for it: "In a time in which social discourse is largely determined by social media platforms, in a time in which an anonymous mob rages through the net with all regularity and believes to have leased morality for itself, in a time in which people no longer listen to each other, there is a man who shows a clear edge against the humorless haters, splitters and exclusionists of this world. FAISAL KAWUSI!"

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Thinking about the indignation

In a way, Kawusi has created something new with this concept. Something that distinguishes it from previous riot comedians. He is not only crossing boundaries and hoping for a reaction from the public – he is apparently also thinking the level of internetemporung at the same time. He knows that what he is doing will cause protests, and he uses exactly that as a sales concept.

A concept that works wonderfully. When Kawusi shares his views on political correctness and the "freedom of comedy" on Instagram, hundreds applaud him there.

"True words, Brudi", "Strong announcement" or "Don't let me shut you up" can be read in the comments columns. The whole "political correctness" and "cancel culture" is something you don't want anymore anyway, you can read in several comments. It is conceivable that many of these fans will sooner or later also find their way into the comedian's stage program.

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"Sinnfluencer" with humor criticism

On the other side are those who have developed their very own business model on the subject: the never-ending outrage spiral. This refers to the many influencers, many of whom have now discovered Internet activism for themselves and reach a huge audience with progressive and activist topics.

On the now highly politicized platform Instagram, people educate people about feminism, body positivity and sustainability in colorful tiles, while in the next post they make paid advertisements for sustainable banks, vibrators, jeans or supermarket chains. For the actors, a case like Ilg's and Kawusi's is a feast for the eyes: Together, they jump on the topic, comment, shoot their own statement videos, write entire Instagram stories full and only stop when some channel – often the Sat.1 – distant. One does all this, of course, on behalf of victims of abuse. In solidarity with these very. But a little bit perhaps also because the topic generates enormously much range, which can be made to money.

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