Taking risks comes with the territory of being a comedian, but last week both Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher crossed the line and sparked bipartisan outrage. Fellow comedian Kevin Hart has weighed in on the image of Griffin holding a fake decapitated head of Donald Trump and Maher's use of the N-word on live TV, and he points out that comedy is riskier than ever in the social media era.
Negative sentiments spread like wildfire on social media, and Hart says comedians need to be keenly aware that their actions will have swift consequences.
“Times are different now, and as a comedian, you have to understand and respect that,” he said during an appearance on The View. “If you put yourself in a position to be viewed in a negative way from the public, with social media being the way that it is, if it’s negative it’s going to spread…I think you have to use better judgment.”
"We always take risks, but sometimes it can be distasteful," Hart said in reference to Griffin's photo and Maher's use of a racial slur. When asked if he thinks they deserve to lose their jobs, Hart said it wasn't his place to make that decision but both Griffin and Maher need to accept whatever consequences are handed down.
“Kathy Griffin, I get that it was a joke — it wasn’t received well, you apologized, you should step away from it. Whatever happens after that, it happens," he said. "Bill Maher, I don’t think Bill Maher is a racist, but you know the consequences of using the word, you know how many people view your show. It was stupid.”
CNN terminated its contract with Griffin, who has co-hosted the network's New Year's Eve special with Anderson Cooper for nearly a decade. HBO has confirmed that Maher will return with a new episode this Friday, but his future with the network remains unclear.