Comedians took to the airwaves after the December 11 attack in New York by Islamist terrorist Akayed Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh.
Ullah, who was inspired by ISIS, detonated his homemade and apparently defective bomb in midtown Manhattan’s Port Authority bus terminal, causing damage to himself but little to others.
The attack provided fodder for The Late Show host Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper, both of whom used the occasion to praise the resilience of New Yorkers and poke fun at the everyday hazards of commuting through Port Authority and the plans of the terrorist himself.
While we can assume that if there had been any serious injuries or deaths, the tone would have been more subdued (as in a spot by Late Night host Seth Meyers following the truck ramming in lower Manhattan the day of Halloween that killed eight and injured at least 11), the show raised a question about the place of comedy in fighting terror.
Does being able to make fun of terrorists give power back to the victims and create an infectious resilience in the population – or does it trivialize the real issues and create a false sense of security?
We’d like to hear your opinion.