Comedian Vir Das on Sunday took responsibility of his recent offensive joke against the transgender community, and said he “messed” up. Vir Das has been criticised for the joke that apparently made fun of gender pronouns and also spoke inappropriately about transgender persons.
The joke is a part of the latest episode of #TenOnTen Tribalism & Cancel Culture vs Comedy, which is streaming on YouTube. Screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal and designer Saisha Shinde had earlier expressed their disappointment in Das.
The comedian finally addressed the criticism through a statement posted on his Twitter page. Das captioned it, writing, “For you, Amaan. Thank you for the conversation,” referring to a fan, who identifies as non-binary and felt hurt by Das’ joke that ‘punched down’ on the queer community.
“I did a joke on the new ten on ten episode that my friends in the Trans community felt hurt by. I see why. My intent in the moment, was to say Trans people have courage the Govt never ever could and it was set up wrong and uninformed. I messed up. It had the opposite effect and trivialized your struggle. Articulating my intent effectively is my responsibility, not yours,” read an excerpt from the statement.
Das said that he wanted to offer no justification about the joke that was “wrong. Plain and simple.” “No buts. Sometimes (a lot of) people are upset because the joke really worked, sometimes because the joke doesn’t. My audience understands comedy, they can take a joke. So when they talk to me, I listen,” he further wrote.
The comedian also attached two screenshots of his conversation with his follower, Amaan. “I’m a queer individual who identifies as non binary. I see your reaction to the calling out of your mistakes and I feel like someone has to call you in, instead. When you feel like you’re being attacked, it’s very easy to get defensive and reactionary. You of all people know punching up is how comedy works, and yet you chose to punch down, if only as a set up. I hope you understand,” Amaan wrote, signing off as “your slightly hurt fan”.
In his reply to Amaan, Das apologised to him and assured him that he would issue a statement, acknowledging his mistake. “You’re correct about the joke, and I’m so sorry it made you feel hurt. I’m going to put a statement out, but waiting till everyone calms down so they know it’s thought out and genuine. If you know my work, you know the intent is never ever to hurt. Give it a minute and I will definitely respond,” Das had responded at the time.