Major Post #1
In the “Average Asian” skit, MADtv is poking fun at all the stereotypes that the “average Asian” person goes through. When white people are in the majority, they tend to be more racist, albeit subconsciously. I’m not saying that white people aren’t racist when they’re alone with a majority, but it’s easier to be brave/racist when you have a crowd backing you. The first joke in the skit is when the Asian actor Bobby Lee, who plays Haidiki, walks into the house. The predominantly white guests begin to bow as soon as he walks into the door. The host, played by Stephnie Weir, accepts some wine as a gift from Lee and calls it “orijami”. Instead of handshakes or waving, MADtv pokes fun at the fact that Asians have a “monk” or “Zen-like” state of mind. People laugh because this isn’t how Asian Americans greet each other. The denotative meaning in this case is just people greeting an arriving guest by bowing. But the connotative meaning tells us that the guests are being racist by assuming that Lee is a person that greets others by bowing.
The second joke that stuck out at me was when the couple tells Lee that they were considering adopting an “Oriental” baby because they were so cute when they are little, but were also against it because they get uglier as they grow older. The man in the couple then has the nerve to say “no offense” to Lee. On the surface, you don’t notice the part where the man says, “no offense”. It just seems as though they’re trying hard to get a laugh, but again, they are just pointing out things that actually happen to the average Asian person. MADtv is pointing out that people tend to say some deeply offensive things about someone and then cover it up by saying “no offense” especially to minorities, such as Asians. Oriental is also a term used that is out of date and used by people are ignorant and/or racist. The joke also takes a really dark turn when the man makes a face of utter disgust when referring to the appearance of a matured Asian person. So far the jokes in the skit had been poking fun at less harmful stereotypes, like origami and bowing, but this one outright calls grown Asian people, ugly. MADtv seems to be pointing out that the media feels fine not putting any Asians on television shows, movies, or advertisements because they don’t compare to the “white standard”. This forces people to think of Asians as ugly people, because they seem to be the most underrepresented race on television and movies. This seems to be the most telling joke of all. White people seem to find it all right to make fun of Asian appearances because they have the “nerd, smart” stereotype and assume they won’t fight back against the injustice.
The third joke is when the overzealous, patriot, played by Ike Barinholtz, challenges Lee to a ping pong match and wages $1,000 on the “red, white, and blue”. This is again poking fun at Asians and their prominence in the game of ping pong. The man takes it upon himself to challenge an Asian on behalf of all “red-blooded” Americans. Up to this point, the transitions for the show was a hook for a song “he’s an average Asian”, meaning he couldn’t do origami or help people with back problems because not all Asians can do that. At first, it seems like Lee was going to be an average Asian when it came to ping pong as well. But after he changes the paddle to his good hand, Lee dominates Barinholtz. The transition then changes to “he’s an expert Asian when it comes to ping pong”. MADtv allows one stereotype to be true because it shows that everyone is different. He might be good at ping pong but it’s not because he’s Asian, he’s just good at ping pong. The other stereotypes were not true and this one was, showing that yes someone could be upholding certain stereotypes, while not proving others right. The last joke was as simple as that. The skit pokes fun at Asian stereotypes but it also makes the white audience take a long look in the mirror by putting their racism on a mainstream stage.