Comedian Ari Shaffir is back in the hot seat again, this time for mocking the death of country singer Kenny Rogers. Shaffir has a long history of making light of celebrity deaths, resulting in a blow to his career earlier this year when he insulted the late Kobe Bryant. This time, country fans are going after Shaffir.
Shaffir is a standup comic with a dark sense of humor, often going to extremes to mock celebrity deaths. Some thought the running gag would end after the backlash to his Bryant video, but he proved that the bit goes on when he mocked Rogers. After Rogers died at the age of 81 on Friday, Shaffir had a biting insult ready to go on Saturday. “Kenny Rogers was so racist he only made roasted chicken because he thought black people would only eat fried. Also, it’s not an island if it’s only in a stream, you dumb f—. It’s just a piece of dirt,” he tweeted.
Kenny Rogers was so racist he only made roasted chicken because he thought black people would only eat fried. Also, it’s not an island if it’s only in a stream, you dumb fuck. It’s just a piece of dirt.
— Ari Shaffir (@AriShaffir) March 21, 2020
Since the backlash to his comments about Bryant were so recent, many people recognized Shaffir’s commentary as a joke when they saw it. Still, a few had fierce retorts for the comedian.
“Folks, if my family member died and someone made a joke about it, well looks like they will have another funeral [to] go [to],” wrote one Facebook commenter. “Messing with people family ain’t a joke, if this POS is looking for attention or Ratings then I’m sure someone out there will give him what he looking for!”
“Sad people like this have nothing better to do, [they’re] the ones who need to be out of a job disgusting and ignorant!!!” wrote another.
For some odd reason I don’t think people will get as upset about this one
— Chuck Townsend (@ChuckTownsend8) March 21, 2020
“Some of you people out there saying this just a joke it’s just a joke you don’t joke about the dead you let them rest,” added a third.
Back on Twitter, however, Shaffir’s fans seemed to agree that the fallout for this remark was much lighter, and in some eyes, it was worth it to show that the comedian was not “scared” of “cancel culture.”
Back in January, Shaffir came under fire for a video he posted about Bryant shortly after his death.
“Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today,” he said at the time. “He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day!”
Even Shaffir’s friend and comedic mentor, Joe Rogan, spoke out against the joke, saying that Shaffir “needed to know that there are consequences for just saying ridiculous s— that you’re not supposed to say when people die.”
Shaffir later issued a response to the backlash on Instagram, explaining his joke but insisting that it was “NOT an apology.”