This is a nice piece, Lindsay.
I think one can, in a way, have it both ways, if one separates things from context. And a comedy club- -is it not where we can look at the ridiculous in all of its forms (including, I agree those who advocate for free speech so extremely).
Of course, it is also true that laughter is often a cover for not looking too closely at something. Laughter is not radical…it’s just as often “conservative”.
This is what makes what happens in college classrooms more disturbing than what happens at comedy clubs. Comedy clubs are, as such, ‘involved’ with the culture they ridicule. But isn’t a college campus supposed to be a place where one seeks to look at things (in a civil manner, of course) as honestly as possible, particularly when it comes to things we are predisposed to hold most dear (and hence, are most painful to examine)?What we have to answer is what kind of people we want to be- -those who can look at themselves when it is painful, and even laugh, or those that can’t? (This is not meant to be a judgment on “millenials”; every generation has their particular blind spots in this regard).