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Jameela Jamil Blasted Straight, White Male Comics Who Punch Down On Marginalized People

"People who've had the right to say whatever they want for the longest time suddenly feel like something has been taken away from them," the "Good Place" star told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on October 21, 2019, at 1:23 p.m. ET

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The Good Place star Jameela Jamil appeared on BuzzFeed News' Twitter morning show AM to DM on Monday, weighing in on cancel culture and comedy.

Joined by Joe Gatto, her cohost on the upcoming gameshow The Misery Index that will premiere Tuesday on TBS, Jamil called on people to use comedy to punch up, not down.

"I think it's quite lazy humor to punch down," said Jamil, who used the question as an opportunity to distinguish between the type of humor her new show will explore, which focuses on players ranking hilarious real-life situations.

Taylor Miller // BuzzFeed News

"We're not punching down on marginalized people. There's no bigotry, there's no laziness," she told BuzzFeed News. "It's just sort of like old-fashioned slapstick," she said, adding that the show "makes fun of typical human error rather than true misfortune."

Jamil made headlines recently for her comments about not knowing much about former president George W. Bush, but she wasn't asked about that as the interview was taped prior to that incident.

The subject of comedy was broached when Jamil was asked about a tweet she sent earlier this month calling out Joker director Todd Phillips, who essentially said it was harder for people to be funny nowadays because of "woke culture."

Jamil responded to the director's comments with a list of shows she considered to be "pretty funny." And there were other prominent stars who disagreed with Phillips, including Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi and GLOW actor Marc Maron.

"It's just not funny to make fun of people who can't defend themselves," Jamil said. The actor then said it's typically "straight, white males," who lean into that "lazy, privileged" stance on humor.

"People who've had the right to say whatever they want for the longest time suddenly feel like something has been taken away from them, but all you have to do is step outside of yourself and expand your mind and just try, ’cause there are loads of people out there being funny without needing to bully anyone," the actor said.

Taylor Miller // BuzzFeed News

Jamil extended a bit of grace to people who struggle with learning how social mores change because "everyone makes mistakes," she said.

"It's OK to know you've still got work to do as long as you're willing to do the work," she said. "And I think we need to stop shaming people about being perfect. Moral purity is not a thing that exists, not truly. We all make mistakes, and that's OK as long as you work to constantly undo them."

"I think there's an important distinction between shaming and criticism," Gatto said.

"And cancellation is just ridiculous," Jamil said. "It just doesn't get anyone anywhere."

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