Comedian David Cross, best known for his role as Tobias Funke on “Arrested Development” came under a barrage of criticism for a tweet he posted on Saturday. That tweet, was promoting his stand-up show in Utah with a Twitter photo of him standing in what appears to be nothing by garments that are worn by endowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The caption that went alongside the tweet stated “Utah! Learn the real truth!”.
The University of Utah President Ruth Watkins defended the comedian’s free speech rights but also pointed out that the use of the imagery was “deeply offensive” and that “The University of Utah condemns bigotry and religious intolerance in any form…The offensive use of sacred religious imagery in a tweet by David Cross promoting his performance at Kingsbury Hall was in opposition to the university’s values of respect and inclusivity.”
She continued “the use of the imagery was deeply offensive…at the same time, the First Amendment protects such speech and the university cannot and will not censor content of those coming to campus. We acknowledge the free speech rights of individuals and entities who rent university facilities — even those with whom we disagree. By doing so we protect the free speech rights of all.”
The Deseret News just posted an article When comedians, like David Cross, put religion in the crosshairs, controversy can follow where they talk about the fine line many comedians walk when making religious jokes.
From the article they quote Greg Kyte a comedian based in Provo, Utah:
“What do worship services and first dates have in common? They both inspire stand-up comedy acts…You’d be hard-pressed to find a comedian who doesn’t do material about dating or marriage. Religion isn’t quite as ubiquitous as that, but it’s maybe the next closest thing.”
He also added, “some of the best comedy comes from breaking taboos. But you’ve got to do it in a way that’s truly funny” to your audience, Kyte said.