This Week at the Comedy Cellar Returns, Starts Season 2 By Pulling a Comedian After Controversy Errupts

This Week at the Comedy Cellar is back for Season Two on Comedy Central and started with a bang, or rather an explosion before its first episode aired Friday night.

The series first episode brought jokes about the Blackout, and Epstein, with material from Jessica Kirson, Sam Morrill, Mark Normand, Pete Lee, Lynn Koplitz, Mike Yard, Greer Barnes, Joe Machi and others. And a great spotlight on Bonnie McFarlane ended the episode. But what you didn’t see was a bit from TWatCC newcomer Dina Hashem, because it got pulled after controversy erupted on Twitter over her joke. The bit previewed on Comedy Central’s social media accounts and quickly took on heat- heat directed not only at Hashem, but also at the show and the entire network- forcing the network to pull the bit.  As for Hashem, she received threats of all kind including death threats and had to lock down her Twitter and Instagram accounts to get out from under the pile on.

UPDATE: Sources close to the show informed us that  Comedy Central did not make the decision to pull the clip from the final show. A quick search on Twitter shows comedians who had tweeted angrily about the removal of the clip apologizing to Comedy Central for accusing them of backing down from airing the joke.

The joke made light of a situation that a lot of people aren’t feeling very light about- murdered rap star XXXTentacion. XXX was shot and killed a year ago, gunned down in a robbery. He was carrying 50k in cash. The joke was not directly about him or his death, but about the fact that carrying cash turned out to be problematic, and referenced that his death might make good promotion for Venmo. “He was shot,” she said. “He was on his way to buy a car with $50K in cash and somebody shot him and took the money. Which is very tragic but I think also it would be a very good Venmo commercial. That’s the first thing I thought when I heard that.”

Thousands jumped to respond to the joke, calling for an end to her just burgeoning career, and making threats like these:

She posted a response on Twitter Friday afternoon that seemed to worsen the situation. She said that she wasn’t mocking his death and had not intended to hurt feelings. But she also couldn’t agree with anyone painting her as a villain and him as a martyr. She wrote: “It’s worth noting that he was on trial at the time of his death for beating up his pregnant girlfriend.” She added, that doesn’t make it okay that he was killed, but “one dumb joke about him is not an atrocity.”

Hashem later issued a more conciliatory statement about the backlash. “I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings,” she wrote, explaining that she uses jokes to make dark topics less painful, but now realizes that not everyone feels that way. She also said that the joke would not air on television.

This joke didn’t go over so well for her, but after nine years performing comedy, Hashem has recently been getting noticed. In our annual “comedians who will break out next year” list, Hashem was named by several comedians as their pick as someone about to break.

Not all the tweets were attacking her for the joke- comedian friends and fans supported her on Twitter, and even expressed disappointment that Comedy Central caved to pressure.

This Week at the Comedy Cellar airs Fridays at 11pm ET on Comedy Central.

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