This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

Disabled comedian's powerful response to being bullied on television is going viral

Damienne Merlina was called “fat” and “annoying” in another comic’s stand-up special.

A COMEDIAN HAS found himself at the centre of an internet firestorm after footage emerged of him namechecking a fellow comedian and mocking her disability.

In his 2013 Comedy Central special, Passive Aggressive, comedian Ari Shaffir refers to fellow comic Damienne Merlina by her full name and proceeds to mock her for having one arm.

Shaffir also described Merlina as having a “fat smell” and suggested that she couldn’t wash herself properly because she only had one arm.

Many called out Shaffir for his cruel remarks on Twitter. (Podcasting superstar Marc Maron wrote that it was “mean and unnecessary.)

Over the weekend, Damienne Merlina weighed in on the debacle with this powerful response.

Merlina opens the video by explaining that she started stand-up when she was 22 and lost her arm in a horrific car accident that same year.

She goes on to explain that she has never had more than “two paragraphs of conversation” with Shaffir and didn’t understand why she was targeted in his special.

Source: Damienne Merlina/YouTube

This isn’t funny. It’s not comedy. It’s bullying.

Merlina’s response has been viewed over 62,000 times since it was uploaded and has been warmly received on social media with many commending her for the way in which she has handled the situation.

Meanwhile, many people have taken Comedy Central to task for airing the joke in the first place.

As The Daily Show’s John Hodgman wrote:

But as a sometime employee of Comedy Central, it bothers me that this went to air. I don’t get why — if only from a legal perspective – they didn’t take Ari Shaffir aside and say, ‘hey, you don’t want to really do this, do you? Let’s maybe bleep out this person’s actual name.’

So far, neither Comedy Central nor Ari Shaffir have commented on the controversy.

Everything you need to know about the man taking over from Jon Stewart >

Brian O’Driscoll was caught rapid enjoying enjoying his ‘business trip’ a bit too much >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Amy O'Connor

Read next: