you call it a hoax, I call it comedy
Why are so many comedians aghast about Elan’s “Diane in 7A” story? Patton is crucifying this dude in a way we haven’t seen since he took down Prodigal Sam or Barbara Gray or Salon. Calling Elan’s extended live-tweet bit a fraudulent hoax is like me walking into a stand up show, hearing a piece of an act with an element of story telling, googling the facts on my phone to debunk the story, then telling people on the way out that the comic is full of shit and a terrible person. For many, including many of the people up in arms about this Diane piece, Twitter is an outlet for comedy. Did Elan cross a line because he tricked you? Are you mad because he produces the Bachelor? Why is his version of comedy unacceptable? Lots of us have tweeted fantasy responses to annoying people, or even people we love. I’ve tweeted imaginary ways to tell my kids to fuck off, but that doesn’t mean I’m some abusive monster who hates my kids. I’m usually trying to take a relatable situation, and add a comedic/shocking/dumb response to that situation. Is it always funny? Eh…hit and miss. Lots of miss, actually.
Another time, I “live-tweeted” that Vin Diesel showed up at my house, angry about my #vindieselsunday tweets. Then, as I continued narrating my imagined story, Pitbull showed up and they both did dounts on my lawn. Clearly not real, but a viable version of trying to make twitter funny, at least to myself.
Elan’s intended audience likely understood that this Diane bit was another one of his possibly embellished “live tweets.” I would even guess that half the fun for his audience is trying to determine if any of the exchanges he documents with photos could possibly be real. In this case, Internet bit on his story and ran hard with it. And then everyone got pissed for various reasons.
Not that anyone needs another asshole…sorry…opinion on this, but for a bunch of comics, a lot of you guys are pretty unforgiving about comedy you don’t happen to agree with.
Regarding comedy vs hoax, I think it comes down to context: in a comedy club, you are prepared for storytelling. Whether it’s true or not, you’re in there expecting to be told a joke.
With Twitter, some people use it to tell jokes, but many do not. Not everyone knows Elan Gale and knows that this is his schtick. When it’s picked up my news sources as a factual story and then Mr. Gale didn’t deny it, I think you cross over into hoax territory.
It’s further complicated by the fact that Mr. Gale made himself out to be a hero (my opinion, but I think the information provided by Mr. Gale himself justify this conclusion) for telling a woman to “eat my dick.”
(Fictional) Diane’s (fictional) freakout to a (fictional, but they probably exist) airport employee is not excusable. But neither is Mr. Gale’s (we now know fictional) response.
If you threaten sexual violence in a fictional situation, it does make a sound. Whether it sounds like laughter or disgust is up to you.
PS. If you see an upset person the only proven way to calm them down is to show them a picture of a basket full of puppies.