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A comedian went on TV and viciously insulted a fellow comedian. Here's her eloquent response.

After being mocked by a fellow comedian, she fired back with a message about life, comedy, and humility.

A comedian went on TV and viciously insulted a fellow comedian. Here's her eloquent response.

You might not know self-described "fat, one-armed stand-up comedian" Damienne Merlina, but you should.

Merlina recently posted a powerful, must-watch YouTube update about overcoming adversity, even when others try to make the world a darker place for you.


In her own stand-up act, she makes a few jokes at her own expense.

Some studies have suggested that being able to make these types of jokes can actually be good for your health.

For her, this means making a few jokes about the fact that she lost her right arm in a car accident.

It's one thing to joke about yourself, but it's entirely different when someone else makes you the target.

In a recent Comedy Central special, comedian Ari Shaffir devoted time to making fun of Merlina for only having one arm.

He also took some shots at her weight.

The biggest problem with Shaffir's joke was that it wasn't really a joke at all.

Whether or not someone finds it funny depends entirely on whether or not you find someone losing their arm in a car accident funny. It depends on whether or not you think that fat people are just naturally funny.

In other words, Damienne Merlina was the joke.

Some people might argue that Shaffir's jokes are protected by the First Amendment, and they'd probably be right.

But that's not what this is about. At all.

This isn't an argument about free speech; it's an argument about human decency and kindness to others.

He has every right to decide what jokes go into his set, and Comedy Central has every right to decide whether or not they want to put out his material.

It should be noted that in her video, she doesn't ask that Comedy Central pull Shaffir's special, demanding an apology, or anything like that. She's just a person who seems really confused how she became a target and why someone would do this to her.

While he had every right to make the joke, it's still really, really, unnecessarily mean.

On her Facebook page, Merlina explained exactly what it was about Shaffir's set that upset her the most: the fact that he used her first and last name, making her a target.

Shaffir has a significantly larger platform than Merlina. By naming her by first and last name in his special, he opened her up to a massive amount of criticism — criticism she did nothing to bring upon herself.

"In the many years I have been acquainted with him we have never exchanged more than 2 paragraphs of polite conversation.
***
It wasn't even funny. I know that comedy is comedy. I understand that being in the public I risk criticism and unkindness. My issue is that he used my FIRST and LAST name. Per the US Census there is only one Damienne Merlina."

Good comedy should "punch up."

"Punching up" is a term used to describe comedy that takes aim at people or institutions better off than the person making the joke. This is how people like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, John Stewart, and others usually operate.

What Shaffir did, though, was "punch down." His joke wasn't aimed at a large institution or powerful figure. The punchline of the joke was essentially "Hey, this fat woman only has one arm. Isn't that hilarious?" That's just mean.

She ended her video with an awesomely heartfelt speech about life, comedy, and humanity.

"You can have bad experiences in life, and you can still be a nice person," is a concept that goes way beyond just the world of comedy.

No one's life is perfect. Bad things happen to good people. Life isn't fair.

Still, you don't need to needlessly inflict pain on others.

Watch Damienne Merlina's heart-wrenching response to Ari Shaffir below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less