On April 14, American University’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter screened “Can We Take a Joke” to a group of thirty-five students. Both active YAL members and other students attended the event, laughing throughout the film. YAL chapter member Annamarie Rienzi provided freshly popped popcorn for students to eat during the screening.
“Can We Take a Joke” included commentary from renowned comedians such as Lisa Lampanelli and Penn Jillette. These comedians reminded viewers that unpopular ideas, often those silenced by the public, are sometimes the best ideas. For example, abolitionists, civil rights activists, and women suffragists were brutalized by the public, even though they fought for a freer society. Jillette and Lampanelli related this plight to one of their common influences, former comedian Lenny Bruce, who the government prosecuted for obscenity.
“Can We Take a Joke” reminded YAL members through jokes and melancholy that the best way to combat a bad idea is to defeat it with logic. Debate your opponents, rather than silence them. President John Nagle concluded the meeting by reminding members of Milo Yiannopolous’ April 21st campus appearance. This is the final AU YAL event of the year.