Homosexuality and equal rights has been a prominent issue within Australia recently, Melbourne sketch comedy group Aunty Donna addresses this issue with the video ‘Found Out I’m Gay’.
(Warning, the video has EXTREME sexually suggestive material)
The video was produced by Aunty Donna on December 6th 2012 as a segment of their show ‘Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room’. It is found primarily on YouTube on Aunty Donna’s official page under the title ‘Found Out I’m Gay’, also as a segment of ‘Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room! SWEETLOVE’ the latter is also available on ABC’s iview. The text was not created with the intention of reaching a specific audience, however, the humour used by the group may most be associated with a younger adult audience.
Shock humour is not a new tactic in sending a message; its application in this text is useful in gaining an audience due to its comedic nature. The video itself has roughly 97 000 views, whilst the ‘Rumpus Room’ video it features in has over 179 000 views. The text employs a contrast between the harsh sexually explicit material during the middle of the video, to the discussion of a normal seeming relationship between two men. The Authors use this contrast to highlight the difference between a certain preconceived idea of a homosexual relationship and something closer to actuality.
Interactions between the producers and the audience do not influence the reading of the text greatly, however, other videos by the group such as ‘Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room! LION’ provide a contextual framework in which audiences may use to reinterpret the original message. Videos such as ‘LION’ and ‘Found Out I’m Gay’ feature grotesquely sexually violent and explicit content, therefore audiences familiar with the work of the group may not be as shocked by the message due to exposure to this kind of material. Furthermore, the content near the end of the video discussing building relationships, may be relatable to some of the audience, therefore strengthening the bonds with the audience whilst also reinforcing the original message. This interaction influences an audience’s interpretation of the messages.
Interesting questions to be raised about this text include questioning the use of comedy. Does the video use comedy to send a message about homosexuality, or use homosexuality to make comedy? Does this question matter, as long as the message is being sent? Does the average audience interpret the negative aspect of the text as the original message or the positive? Therefore does the message help of hinder the same sex couples drive for equal rights? Is this shock comedy tactic the best way of sending the message, or is there another form of comedy that would be more effective? Does the use of comedy destroy the credibility of the message?
Conclusively, although the text does not reach a wide audience, it’s use of shock comedy, aids the message of same sex equal rights. The producer’s use of contrast and relatable material influences the decoding of the message.