Comedians Who Treat Their Fans Like Trash

It's long been said that laughter is the best medicine. Studies, for example, say letting out a chuckle is good for your heart, as it increases the amount of blood flow through your arteries. Other labs have proven cheerfulness to boost your immune system due to its ability to decrease stress hormones. Most importantly — and, as you might have guessed — the act of laughing has been proven, in some studies, to actually make you happier.

Given this much is true, that would make comedians doctors of some sort, no? So why is it that so many famous and world-renowned comics also have a history of treating their fans like trash? Obviously, you wouldn't want the person performing stand up at the local bar on Tuesday to actually practice medicine on you, but it's safe to say that, over the years, society has turned to these jesters as a relief from the stresses of everyday life.

James Lipton— an American writer, lyricist, and Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City — once famously alluded to the unbalanced scale between comics and their audience saying, "comedians don't laugh. They're too busy analyzing why it's funny or not." The sentiment coincides with the overall belief that humor and grief share a fence. We may never truly know what these comedians are going through, but here are a couple of "funny guys" who turned heel and delivered punches with no line to follow.

Can't cancel Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle is a living comedic legend. From landing a role in Mel Brooks' 1993 comedy "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" to starring in his own TV sitcom, "The Chappelle Show," no stone has been left unturned for the DC native, whose one-liners, skits, and characters have transcended the bounds of comedy into the fabric of pop-culture as we know it. However, when it comes to his fans, Dave seems to have chosen a path inconsiderate of their feelings. In fact, Chappelle has quite literally laughed in the face of cancel culture.

Take his stance on trans rights, for example. During his 2017 Netflix special "The Age of Spin," Chappelle jokes about how "transgender people [are] beating black people in the discrimination Olympics" (via SBS). Then, the same year, when Dave released "Equanimity," he includes a Caitlyn Jenner bit that ends with him referring to her and saying, "Yuck," per IndieWire. The same was the case in 2019's special, "Sticks and Stones," where he shows blatant disregard for gendering, joking about greeting LGBT people in a car, saying, "'oh, yes, hi, whatever pronoun you're comfortable with'" (via The Wrap). The tune is consistent with Dave, who defended the backlash on 2021's "The Closer."

To make matters worse, Chappelle has conducted himself unruly off stage, getting into it at a Four Seasons in Texas after the comedian turned back eager fans for approaching him without a mask.

Ellen Degeneres's other side

Ellen Degeneres is a champion for both women and LGBTQ rights, as her tenure on the "Ellen Degeneres Show" has provided over two decades of heart-felt daytime television. Her show also became famous for cheer and good spirit, as she'd always open with a dance routine. At one point, Ellen DeGeneres even ranked number one on NBC News' "State of Kindness" poll in 2015. This is why it was surprising when news came out that Ellen is actually not nice at all, per Insider.

It began with comedian Kevin T. Porter tweeting that he would make $2 donations to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for stories of Ellen being rude, which brought in nearly 2,000 responses. These accounts included a waitress who was almost fired after the comedian wrote a letter and complained about her chipped nail polish and a TV writer who attests she has a "sensitive nose" and that if she thinks you smell that day, you have to go home and shower.

Ellen's behavior spans beyond her coworkers and fans and onto her peers, as well. According to Kathy Griffin's sold-out show at the Dolby Theater back in 2018, the "Finding Nemo" star not only had a feud with Griffin but with the late great Joan Rivers. "One of the things that really hurt Joan, and we talked about it at our last meal together, was that Ellen always shunned her and Ellen thought she was vulgar and not funny," Griffin said, according to Variety.

James Corden is not so kind

Known best for his unique sense of humor and "Carpool Karaoke," James Corden has managed to accrue quite the reputation for her brashness for someone who fronts as a man of cheer.

A big reason could be his ego. In a revelation to The New Yorker, "The Late Late Show" host admitted needing therapy after becoming 'intoxicated' by fame, stating that his close friends and family even began to become annoyed with his spoiled behavior following the success of "Gavin & Stacey" in 2007. "I started to behave like a brat that I just don't think I am," he shared. "It's so intoxicating, that first flush of fame, and I think it's even more intoxicating if you're not bred for it." It had gotten so bad, in fact, his co-star on the breakout show, Rob Brydon, admitted much of the same. "I said, 'Look, this is a bit awkward to say, but I'm just hearing these things about you, and you've got to know that the way you behave has an effect on people,'" Brydon reportedly said to the comedian.

Well, since that interview, it doesn't seem like much has changed. In 2021, Corden went viral on Twitter after calling members of K-pop group BTS "unusual visitors" to the United Nations General Assembly and characterizing the group's fans as "15-year-old girls."

Kevin Hart can't take criticism

Many know about the comedian's past homophobic tweets that ultimately cost him his Oscars hosting gig (he eventually apologized, but it was a long, very publicized process), but did you know the Kevin Hart is also good for a quick clap back?

Just check the "Cold as Balls" host's response after one Twitter user tweeted, "Kevin Hart not funny enough for the aggravation he be causing. Pls get your Hollywood bag and leave us alone." Regardless of his place of power and position, the comedian responded, saying, "The "He's not funny" slander is the best....this is for you," he said in one tweet. "I have three stand up comedy specials that fall in the top 10 highest grossing comedy specials of all time....two of my specials are in the top three of all time" he continued. Then, for good measure, Hart went on to add: "I rarely talk s***....but I felt the need to today. Stop believing these headlines and read the actual articles.... you guys fall for the banana in the tail pipe trick every damn time".

Accountability over hurtful comments or a clown trick? Because Hart came with the same energy in a Clubhouse room titled "Is Kevin Hart funny??" Where he spent 15 minutes defending his latest comedy special, "Zero F***s Given."

Jerry Lewis is legendary for his lash outs

Jerry Lewis, to some, is the Godfather of comedy. Born in New Jersey in the late '20s, the actor and director was one of the first comics with an unrestrained style, making him one of the most popular performers of the 1950s and '60s. (via Britannica). He'd eventually team up with Dean Martin another comedic giant — to create one of the best comedic duos of all time before their public falling out. Lewis, who died due to natural causes at 91, was even known to host life-long telethon fundraisers in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. However, few are aware of his secret side.

Often referred to as the "Dark Prince" of comedy, there was more than what met the eye with Lewis. For starters, The Sun reports that the comedian was accused of being cruel and abusive by his youngest son Joseph, who once told newspapers that Lewis had "physically and mentally abused all his kids on a routine basis". And his charity work? Well, even though he helped raise over $2 billion, The Sun reports that he once "faced angry parents and children in wheelchairs demanding to know where the charity money was being spent."

"Friends" actor Elliott Gould echoed the same sentiment. The Sun reports Gould once said: "He blatantly tells you on network TV that he is the epitome of the socially conscious man, a great humanitarian. Actually, he's one of the most hostile and unpleasant guys I've ever seen."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Tom Segura shoots low

Tom Segura is a stand-up comedian who is commonly known for his Netflix specials and commentary as co-host of the podcast, "Your Moms House." Segura is also of Peruvian, Spanish, and Cajun ancestry, yet, ironically, does not like all minority groups.

Like his bit on downs syndrome, for example. Only a couple of minutes into his 2018 special, "Disgraceful," the comedian makes an observation that while "you can't say retarded anymore," one could get away with calling someone stupid by instead saying, "that's not smart — your idea has an extra 21st chromosome if you ask me." The joke was so offensive that it led people to sign a petition urging Netflix to take down the special. "In the Netflix Original comedy 'Disgraceful' by Tom Segura, members of the Down Syndrome community were appalled to find Mr. Segura suggesting replacing the words 'that is retarded' or 'that is not smart' with the words 'that idea has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome,'" the petition cites. "This petition calls for Netflix to: Remove the anti-down syndrome rhetoric from the show, take the anti-disability sketch out of the trailer for the show, [and] issue a public apology for perpetuating hate speech and stereotype to the Down Syndrome community."

A couple of years later, Segura took his shot at the wrestling community: "So many guys that love wrestling. "I think wrestling is for f****** r******, but so many people like it." Why doesn't he let his fans be fans?

Joan Rivers is real off stage

The late great Joan Rivers was someone you either loved or hated to the grave. While a pioneer in the field as the first female late-night talk show host, the "Queen of Mean," as she was often referred, was openly controversial, often going at celebrities, whether it be on her Emmy-winning daytime talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show with Joan Rivers" or her extremely successful TV show, "Fashion Police" on E! (her finding humor in calling Adele fat and once insulting Rihanna after the Chris Brown assault, are just a couple of examples). However, the writer, producer, and television host's brash style also managed to follow her off the stage.

In 2013, for example, writers on her show, "Fashion Police," went on strike under claims of unbearable working conditions and abuse. How about when she doubled down on her Hellen Keller deaf joke despite people being sensitive to the topic. "Ugh, I hate children. The only child that I think I would have liked ever was Helen Keller because she didn't talk," the joke went. After the heckler mentioned having a deaf son, Rivers responds, "Comedy is to make everybody laugh at everything and deal with things, you idiot. My mother is deaf, you stupid son of a b****. Don't tell me."

One thing you can say about Joan is that she kept it consistent, despite how many people she offended in the process.

Jerry Seinfeld says he's 'prickly'

Who's nicer than Jerry Seinfeld? Star of the hit sitcom "Seinfeld," he's always played roles that showcase him in the most favorable light. Whether you want to look at role in "Bee Movie" or his stand-up, which, by industry standards, is relatively clean, the man who has mastered the art of nothingness has always come off as someone you could approach. Looks, however, can be deceiving.

In a 2015 interview with Anthony Mason of CBS Sunday Morning, Seinfeld spoke on his fanbase and public perception, admitting that civility comes first above all else. "It's a part of my job," Seinfeld answered to how he feels about people coming up to him. The legendary comic then listed a number of rules for what fans shouldn't do: "Don't yell at me, we haven't met. Don't touch me. Nobody feels good having a total stranger touch them," the comedian explained.

Seinfeld then told a story of a man who approached him: "He comes up to me and says, 'I know you hate everybody,'" the comedian narrated. When asked why the fan would think that Jerry answers: "People have gotten a little bit more of a sense of my personality being a little cranky, a little prickly, perhaps, than what you can sense from the sitcom." When asked if he would describe himself as such and if he minded be regarded as so, his answers were "I would," and "no," respectively.

George Lopez will come at you

As a comedian, dealing with hecklers is an opportunity to showcase their talent further. Elegant responses to hostility mid-performance show nimble feet, wit, and crowd control. Late ​​English magician Paul Daniels — who hosted the highly popular "The Paul Daniels Magic Show" on the BBC from 1979 to 1994 — once famously said, "I don't get many hecklers now but answering them is an art form in itself.

That brings us to comedian George Lopez. While known for his self-produced ABC sitcom, "George Lopez," and examinations of Mexican-American culture, the comedian has also been under fire for how he's handled fans as well as a history of racist jokes. One time, he cursed at and tossed a woman from his show in Phoenix after assuming she was heckling. According to a friend of the Black woman of color, however, she wasn't being bothersome but, in fact, was trying to get in on the fun (via NBC 12News).

In the video captured by TMZ, Lopez says, "There are only two rules in the Latino family: Don't marry somebody black and don't park in front of our house." The woman then stood up in reaction, only to catch Lopez's ire. "I'm talking, b****," Lopez said. "You paid to see a show. Sit your a** down." "At first she wanted to be part of the joke, because he's her favorite [comedian] but then it just went 180," said the woman's friend, Juan Quezada.

Don't critique Michael Che

Michael Che has a lot going on. The "Saturday Night Live" mainstay has made a name for himself co-anchoring Weekend Update with Colin Jost; he's released two stand-up specials, "Michael Che Matters" and "Shame The Devil," and has even hosted the Emmys. Che has also built quite the track record of responding poorly to criticism, often clapping back on social media without any regard.

Like when he berated Twitter follower Jack Allison back in 2020 for simply making note of the questionable clauses to the "SNL" writers' submission form. "After our first day of back-and-forth, I thought I wouldn't hear from Che again. I was very, very wrong," the aspiring comedic writer wrote in an article for The Outline. "I would be going about my day-to-day life, before suddenly receiving a deluge of messages from people warning me that I was once again in the 'SNL' head writer's crosshairs," he continued.

Allison says Che's not only gone after him, but others as well, including Steven Hyden — a cultural critic for Uproxx who wrote a piece titled "Why Does Everyone (Still) Hate SNL's Colin Jost?" which also ruffled Che's feathers. "Che apparently didn't like the column, and he decided to mock me on his Instagram," Hyden reportedly told Allison. "He called me a 'mediocre ass white dude' and then said I like to 'suck off rescue dogs.'" he continued. Maybe Che needs to pick a different profession. 

Louis C.K.'s disturbing behavior

Whether he thinks it's a form of appreciation or material for future stand-up, Louis C.K's fixation with masturbating in front of fans is unquestionably a cancellable offense.

What's deplorable about these accusations involving Louie is that the comedian — who has won Peabody Awards, two Grammys, six primetime Emmys, and a couple of Screen Actors Guild awards, just to name a couple — oftentimes was in a position of power and in front of individuals who genuinely revered his work. In these occurrences, according to the accounts given by the women who have come forward, Louie not only dismissed their humanity by unsolicitedly revealing himself but their reverence for his craft, which, oddly enough, is what it's all about, right? The fans showing love?

One account documented by The New York Times tells the story of two up-and-coming comedians from Chicago who were invited out by the now-disgraced comic for a chance to perform at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. What was supposed to be their big break and a one-in-a-life-time opportunity did not turn out that way after. When asking them to come back to his room for a nightcap, Louie then asks to whip out his johnson. Sadly, this was also his behavior with peers. Although comedian Sara Silverman admits to not minding when Louie would ask, "The School of Rock" actress also told Howard Stern that they "were only friends" (via Variety).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Chris D'Elia does not treat all fans the same

While Louis C.K. got off by revealing himself to fans and peers alike, comedian Chris D'Elia was equally disgraceful to his fanbase as well, using his privilege and celebrity to prey on adolescent girls. According to the Los Angeles Times, five women, in fact, have come forward accusing the actor and comedian of sexual improprieties.

Known for his roles as Henderson on the Netflix thriller series "You," Kenny on the ABC television series "The Good Doctor," and for going viral mocking Detroit rapper Eminem, while not A-list, D'Elia managed to use the buzz he had to manipulate. One was a 17-year-old named Julia Holtzman. Per the Los Angeles Times, one day during her senior semester, she woke up to a direct message from the comedian on Instagram that read, "Just came across. Is that bad????" She added, "It was clear I was in high school. I had 16th birthday pictures and photos of me at football games [on my Instagram]." As Holtzman went on, "I told my guy friends about it and they were like, 'He's famous! You have to answer.'" 

While not a fan of the then-36-year-old stand-up comic, she noticed his blue verified check and became intrigued. The outlet also documents a similar case with another high schooler, who was the first to share and claimed she'd had a virtual relationship with D'Elia. Treating your fans like trash is using the fame they helped you acquire to the disadvantage of others.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Amy Schumer likes to shame

Amy Schumer is no longer a household name, but it wasn't always that way. At one point, Schumer was inescapable, appearing on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," creating and starring in "Inside Amy Schumer" a sketch comedy show for Comedy Central that went on to receive a Peabody Award and an Emmy Awards — and starring in her own debut Hollywood film, ​​"Trainwreck."

While you do not see much of Schumer on billboards and Netflix specials now, one attribute could be how she's mistreated people on her way up. Back in 2015, at a Portland show, for example, fans complained about paying over $80 and only seeing her for 45 minutes (via Portland Press Herald). Schumer would go on to blame the venue, saying they cut her first set short to make time for the second audience and that it was a "rookie mistake." Similarly, Schumer has been accused of stealing jokes, racist tweets, and playing the "famous card" with someone who didn't know who she was.

Everyone is due for a comeback, but Amy Schumer is going to have to learn how to treat people to complete one.