Is there a relationship between comedy and ethics?

Various things occur that are beyond the control of humanity which can in a general sense cause depression, stress and sadness. However, as humanity has evolved a new means of coping with pain, topics that are considered taboo, and negative self-perception have emerged. Laughter can create energy that triggers positive emotions that have a healthy effect on a human being. Nevertheless, one's sense of humour can offend and put an individual in a stressful and agitated mood. 

 According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, ethics simply means living a good life.Aristotle strongly rejected Platos theory that for a person to understand what is truly good, they must first understand the sciences and metaphysics. Aristotle contrastingly believed that by appreciating friendship, honour, and virtue you are well equipped in understanding what good is, and therefore, understand what ethics is. Following Aristotles frame of thought, a comedy that offends regardless of its intention would be regarded as unethical as it goes against the principles of goodness.

Nonetheless, in a friendship, mutual banter can be viewed as a healthy way to toughen a person up, creating a mindset and atmosphere which will not allow one to be so easily offended. Yet, certain topics have held a great deal of weight for centuries which may not be welcomed with laughter in a comedic function, for example, events such as slavery and the holocaust. Aristotles concept of virtue, which is a word closely linked ethics, is one which finds the middle ground between two extremes, he referred to this as the Golden Mean.

Does comedy have a responsibility to take into account the Golden Mean and not go beyond the blurred lines of race, religion, sexuality and many more difficult topics? In a sense, every profession or field of work must have a standard level of ethics to maintain peace and a good working environment. Comedy has a global influence and can have a great effect whereby a stereotype which has been perpetuated by a comedian or in a comedic line of work can seep itself within the psyche of various individuals, which can then have an impact on how people are treated, whether or not they are employed, and also how they feel about themselves.

In this sense, it is crucial for those involved in the comedic world to carefully consider what they put out. On the other hand, the climate of the world is one that is constantly tense and serious. This type of environment calls for the tension to be broken. Stand up comedians generally exploit the common themes and stereotypical perceptions of themselves or their particular ethnic group or religion.

This type of comedy does not generally face a great deal of backlash as it regarded as one combining truth with a hint of and foolishness and bravado which translates well and is understood. For example, a comedian of British descent intensity criticising white people stating how wicked they were during their global colonial purge and how the terrorism is karma for their past. Another instance of this could be a stand up-comedian of African decent constantly using the N-word throughout their performance. On both occasions, if both comedians swapped positions, they would both be regarded as racistand extreme.’