My daughter is 9 and my daughter tells, “Yo mama’s so fat” jokes… I am torn.

As a comedian, this is fantastic, particularly with lines like, “Yo mama’s so fat, Dora can’t even explore her”; I mean, come on, gold, right? But as a mother, and a woman who rolls her eyes at the ridiculous depiction of what a woman is “supposed” to look like, according to the media, this is a bit of a dilemma. I believe comedy has a place in all areas and let’s face it, fat mama jokes have been entertaining forever. I remember standing in a crowd of Jamaicans, back in high school, and watched one of these battles; everyone was crying because they were so hysterical. In the end the “loser” laughed the hardest, and in a gentlemanly fashion, shook the other teenager’s hand in defeat, praising his witty comebacks. The debate of what should be censored in comedy is raging and I stand firm with the crowd that believes intelligent, well crafted jokes, particularly those designed in parody or satyr (which is aimed to correct unwanted behaviour) is just dandy. I don’t want to raise overly sensitive kids but I also don’t want to raise kids that are insensitive.

My girls are probably destined to have body issue problems as I diet and exercise my little heart out in front of them and, let’s face it, the plastic surgery this past summer is still confusing them. I mean, “why would mom want to get rid of her big squishy tummy?” Does my role as a comedian outweigh my role as a mother? I was one before the other and dang it, my kids are funny, so I’ve done something right there.

I don’t want to be caught up in a politically correct world where we can no longer laugh at ourselves and the differences and similarities between us all. I would like to think that my kids are learning to be witty, that humour defuses situations, that people would much rather be around you because of your fun personality, not by what you look like. More importantly, when I heard her first joke and made an uncomfortable face she assured me, “Mom, don’t worry, it’s just a joke, we aren’t talking about real moms”. I think this girl has her head on her shoulders.

Now my concern should probably be turned to my four year old who, on the first day of school watched a little girl hit and bully her way through the day, and she came up with this, “Wouldn’t it be great if the evil girl in the purple dress didn’t come inside from recess and the doors locked and then she died?” I turned in shock to my nine year old at which time, she and I burst out laughing. “Sweetie, what you just said is kind of evil,” I said. “No,” she explained, “Then she would die and come back to life as a good girl.” Um, okay, maybe I should take a look at the shows they’re watching….

About the Author

Stephanie Herrera is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, singer, actor, mother of 4, and shallow philosopher. She runs the Durham Improv & Acting Studio in Oshawa, Canada, is a professor at Durham and Fleming Colleges, and is an award winning performer. / / / (647) 899-3342  Durham Improv Group and Business pages can be found on Facebook and follow @durhamimprov & @antimommy