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Canadian comic weighs in on no-no’s of comedy amid ‘Roseanne’ backlash

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in a promo photo for the reboot of 'Roseanne.'.
Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in a promo photo for the reboot of 'Roseanne.'. Photo Courtesy: ABC

Social media can destroy your career if you say the wrong thing online.

That’s according to one Canadian comedian in the aftermath of the cancellation of ‘Roseanne’ following its star’s now deleted racist tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.

Ivan Decker says if people haven’t had experience with social media growing up, especially celebrities, they tend to go too big too soon.

READ MORE: ‘Roseanne’ cancelled: ABC axes comedy after comedian’s tweet

“When people just start tweeting and everything they do, [and it’s] 28,000 retweets and likes… it’s like they started to do drugs but skipped over pot and went straight to crack, like… they’re just… it makes them crazy.”
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Decker says he wasn’t surprised to hear Roseanne Barr lost her job because she said a horrible thing.

“You can’t have somebody like that representing anybody.”

“If you’re going to say something, you better be able to back it up, or just proof read, I mean that’s another thing people don’t do.”

READ MORE: Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett responds to Roseanne’s tweet: ‘It’s a teaching moment’

He says the difference between online and live humour is that the live audience will let you know quickly if your joke is not funny.

If comedians want to talk about controversial subjects, Decker says they need to make it so that everyone laughs in the end.

“Because comedy comes from tension… you want to build tension. If you talk about topics with tension built in: religion, politics, race, sexuality, these are all things that people will naturally tense up about,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘Roseanne’ cancelled over comedian’s tweet

“And so any amount of release of that built-in tension can cause people to really like it… can cause a lot of laughter.”

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Decker says comedians need to approach these topics in a way that doesn’t promote hate and isn’t hurtful.