Twitter users seem to come in these flavors; outrageous or outraged, educated/helpful, smart/reasonable, idiots/trolls, funny. Being a comedian, I always tried to lead with comedy. Now after eleven years of providing comedy on twitter, I have been banned.
On March 24th, in the midst of a raging pandemic where social distancing and home quarantine were our best bets to prevent even larger scale death and illness, ImpeachedSCROTUS declared he “wants the churches opened up and raring to go by Easter”. Many of his supporters celebrated. Most reasonable people were horrified. Twitter, rightly so, exploded in rage and incredulity. I too was incensed, but so tired of feeling incensed by his daily insanity, and I didn’t want to add to the vitriol. Suddenly, my darling Andy Kaufman tapped me on the shoulder and I realized I could go completely in the opposite direction and it would be sublime. I do love satire. I tweeted:
“Listen libtards, u’ve got it all wrong. This country needs to stay strong & show the world we know what’s best! I agree with r president & encourage every #MAGA supporter to lock arms, get out there & go back 2 work together asap! @realDonaldTrump #NotDying4WallStreet #HugMitch”.
It could not have been any clearer that this was satire. “Libtards” is what the “right” calls us on twitter, so coming from a known comedian with forty plus years of democratic activism and material, it was funny. In case it wasn’t clear enough, the hashtags were there as a confirming wink. Yet liberals attacked. When you’re that incensed, you cannot see. The comments were hilarious, the threads so entertaining, I doubled down to the point of ridiculousness until people “got it”. The “right” continued to tweet “no one was going to prevent them filling their churches”, “God was bigger than Covid”, the virus was “a hoax”, etc., and I went right along with them, tweeting:
“Put on those red hats and spit in each other’s faces, just to show the world we are men and we are not afraid. Ha!”
I mean, could you get any sillier? Yet those are the two tweets, posted on March 24th, for which I was banned on April 6th. I had posted seventy subsequent tweets, so someone had to comb through those and work pretty hard to “find something” on me. But what? Those tweets were clearly comedy from a comedian and echoed exactly what the “right” was tweeting.
Twitter gives you no specifics, just cuts you dead and says you violated their rules. The only rule I could find that they, unbelievable as it is to me, might have applied, is against “encouraging self-harm or suicide”. Yet ever since, against the recommendations of every medical professional in government, The Impeached has incited his followers to “open up the country”. Hundreds if not thousands of people left their homes weeks ago and gathered closely together, most without masks or protective gear, to demand cities re-open. The coming weeks will no doubt reap the deadly results of this reckless “encouraging of self-harm or suicide”, yet SCROTUS’ and the republicans’ twitter accounts are doing just fine.
Everyone is trying to define comedy’s place in the new world. Twitter told me to delete my tweets to keep my account. I would never sell out my comedy heroes or comedy that way. Twitter deleted my tweets anyway. And yet, I remain banned, over nothing. All comedians should chafe at censorship that is ignorant at best, arbitrary at worst. We should all object to the hypocrisy of a platform that bans the comedy so needed today, but freely allows deadly misinformation, incitement of harm and encouragement of hate while claiming it doesn’t. I am thanked every day on all other social media for providing laughter during this awful time. So if this banning badge of honor means I have to find a two bedroom to share with Captain Crozier, then I am proud to do so.