This past Friday, comedian Nimesh Patel performed stand up at “CultureShock: Reclaim”, an event organized by Columbia University’s Asian American Alliance (AAA).
CultureShock is an annual event that includes a dinner, fashion show, and various performances.
Pitel, whose credits include winning an Emmy Award for outstanding writing on Saturday Night Live, opening for Chris Rock and performing on Late Night with Seth Myers, was pulled offstage mid-way through his performance for jokes which were deemed homophobic and racist.
According to the Columbia Spectator, which first reported the incident, Patel joked ( that’s his job ) that “being gay cannot be a choice because no one looks in the mirror and thinks, this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.”
When asked by the student organizers to leave, the comedian stated that his aim was to expose his audience to “real world ideas”, not to offend people.
We don’t have video of the event, but here’s a clip of the comic performing similarly “edgy” material:
The Columbia University Asian American Alliance issued a statement on their Facebook page. Here are some snippets:
His (Patel’s) remarks did not align with the mission and message of Asian American Alliance and cultureSHOCK.
We seek to explore and understand Asian Americans’ places within current and historical political discussions in order to organize in the most effective ways that we can. cultureSHOCK is a celebration of identity and a space of inclusion.
Patel’s remarks ran counter to the inclusive spirit and integrity of cultureSHOCK and as such, the choice was made to invite him to leave. We acknowledge that discomfort and safety can coexist, however, the discomfort Patel caused was unproductive in this space.
We ourselves are still processing the events of cultureSHOCK and maintain different perspectives on it even within our organization. We invite and welcome dialogue concerning his remarks and our actions.
That being said, we deeply apologize for inviting him in the first place and bringing these comments into a space for inclusion and acceptance.
The post received over 200 comments, many including the words “stop being” and “babies”.
Also, they need to change the name of this event.