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Find New Comedic Material – Food Allergies Are No Joke

Comedians are known for pushing the limit in their material; at times it seems like no one is immune from being the butt of their punch lines. Last week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, comedian Ricky Gervais obtusely joked about airplane passengers with nut allergies.

FARE condemns the remarks made by Gervais, which included the misinformed notion that a person in anaphylaxis will “blow up like a big frog.” In reality, the symptoms are more frightening than they are funny: difficulty breathing, vomiting, loss of consciousness or even death.

He also joked about rubbing his skin with nuts before boarding a flight in order to induce an allergic reaction in passengers with nut allergies. In a time when thousands of families with food allergies are fighting for accommodations that will allow them to fly safely, and when FARE is working to improve the federal requirements regarding airline policies, this rhetoric is particularly out of touch.

While FARE recognizes that comedy is meant to provoke its audience through controversial topics, we cannot stand for anaphylaxis being an object of ridicule.

The actions of the uneducated few will not distract us from the millions who are learning, helping, and supporting those with food allergies. We encourage Mr. Gervais and The Tonight Show to learn the facts about anaphylaxis and use their public platforms to raise awareness, rather than bully and spread misinformation. Food allergies are not a joke.

FARE has spoken out about the portrayal of food allergies in the media on more than one occasion. To view these statements, see below:

7 thoughts on “Find New Comedic Material – Food Allergies Are No Joke

  1. Thank you to FARE for advocating for us!! I was very upset by the comments made on the Tonight Show. FARE’s response was swift and appropriate. Thank you!

  2. Thank you FARE for condemning the contents of Ricky Gervais’s comments. He is an idiotic, cruel and uninformed man who is desperate for laughs. Jimmy Fallon missed an opportunity to educate him about the seriousness of food allergies.

  3. They need to know that allergies are no laughing mater, I have a severe peanut allergy that is airborne and I remember in sixth grade someone tried to pull a prank on me by putting a peanut into my lemonade, the person was never caught but I almost got in trouble for yelling at my peers about how allergies should be taken seriously and the class laughed. I now have trust problems as well as PTSD from the experience.

  4. Mr. Gervais’ comments are so far out of line and so unacceptable! How ignorant and heartless. It was the equivalent of bullying. Shameful for a grown up man. I normally just consider things types of things as part of being ignorant and careless and let them pass, but I cannot let this one go by unanswered. I have a grandson who has life threatening food allergies, to peanuts among other things. Not a funny matter. I have friends who have severe life threatening food allergies. The thought of anything happening to my grandson or my friends due to the ignorance and reprehensible behavior of others, especially intentional, is horrifying. I am compelled to write to Mr. Gervais and to the Tonight Show. I will do that. Of course, one hopes that he was “joking” and that he would never do such a cruel thing, but it is not a joke, and to make fun of such serious consequences is simply repulsive. How awful if he got paid at the expense of others, using his popularity and comedian status to make fun of a potentially deadly issue. That is despicable. The fact that Jimmy Fallon laughed it off and encouraged more comments is inexcusable. Maybe he didn’t know what his guest was going to say, but to encourage the comment further once it was made was wrong. And then the audience laughed, repeatedly. I know we live in a cold and hateful world full of people who are disrespectful to others, but this just went too far for those of us who care to just let it go unanswered. Thank you FARE for responding to this. I hope that those who heard this and thought it was wrong would also write to Mr. Gervais and The Tonight Show. We can educate them on the seriousness of food allergies. We can’t teach them compassion, respect and care for others, but such reprehensible and irresponsible mockery cannot go without consequence to the offending party. Mr. Gervais’ address in London can be found in Google.

    Sent from my iPad

  5. My husband was watching Archer the other day and they made a joke about someone with food allergies, saying that the food allergy group should be called the “Weak Blooded Society”. Archer is a dumb show anyway, but at this point I was very upset and made him turn it off.

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