TIME Parenting

Watch a ‘Doctors Without Borders’ Parody That’s All About Your Mom

Help is on the way

There’s a new parody of Doctors Without Borders, and they’re almost as helpful as the real ones. They’re not curing Ebola, but they’re doing something that promotes mental health: teaching moms how to talk to their adult daughters without being passive-aggressive. This hilarious spoof of a Doctors Without Borders PSA tells adult women not to worry, because help is on the way. Soon, the world will be free of veiled hostility and judgment of your life choices.

The video contains some NSFW language, but you can watch it here.

Made by the group COMICS4MSF, the YouTube description says it was screened at a Doctors Without Borders fundraiser, even though the comedians are not affiliated with the organization. It features Jena Friedman, who’s also a field producer for The Daily Show.

(Visit the Doctors Without Borders site to learn more about their life-saving work around the world.)

TIME Humor

I’m So Bored With This ‘Color of the Year’ Thing

Getty Images

Calling something a trend doesn't make it trendy


This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who shows up on the Internet to complain about something completely pointless, can I just vent real quick?

Last week, Pantone unveiled the 2015 Color of the Year, and immediately, everyone ran their typical headlines “You’ll Be Seeing This Color Everywhere in 2015” and “The Trendiest Hue for All Your Holiday Parties.”

This year’s Color of the Year is Marsala, for those playing along at home.

I think it’s time for us to all step back, take a breath, and collectively agree to just calm the eff down.

I’ve never really gotten the whole Color of the Year thing, for many reasons. For one, it’s just such a forced trend. I have a weird relationship with trends in general because I always want to rebel against them on principle, and yet embody each and every single one of them because I have a horrible fear of being left out and also want to be viewed as one of the cool kids. So there’s that.

What makes a trend ~trendy~ is that it happens organically. People see something, respond to it, and incorporate it into their own lives. Like, I don’t know, dark lipsticks, messy fishtail braids, or literally anything on Pinterest. All of that caught on because that stuff is cute. No one just decided on those certain things and handed them down to us.

The whole concept of the Color of the Year just seems very manufactured, like a bunch of execs were sitting around a board room in gray suits, analyzing pie charts and bar graphs, whatever those are, to figure out which color would sell the best throughout the coming year, then making that the color of the year.

It’s just BORING. And doesn’t officially declaring something a hot item automatically negate any cool factor it once had? What’s interesting about a certain color if we’re all going to be wearing it? And could you ever actually hear yourself saying, “Oh yeah, this? It’s the Color of the Year.” I’d rather go blind.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Color of the Year never feels very thought out. Pantone always partners with Sephora for a Color of the Year collection, which is an awesome idea in theory, but the execution always seems to fall a little short. The Color of the Year for 2014 was Radiant Orchid, and the year before that, Emerald. Good on Sephora and Pantone for not being afraid of vibrant colors, but neither of the aforementioned shades struck me as being very wearable nor flattering on any skin tone. I realize that this is just a matter of taste, but still, I would think it would be a factor that would inform the decision on what color you’re going to be marketing to the masses.

This year’s color, Marsala, is in my opinion, the most versatile color Pantone has chosen in a while. They describe it as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, body, and souls.” SIGH.

The images accompanying the announcement play up the luxuriousness of Marsala.

Everywhere you look, there are plush fabrics, mulled wine, berries, and of course, macarons. What would a photo shoot in 2014 be without a macaron? They’re serving up the color to be perfect for the holidays, very warm, able to be incorporated into your clothes, makeup, your couch, your kitchen, whatever.

As colors go, I actually kind of like this one, because it’s sort of an in-between of, like, five other colors. It’s vague. All of my favorite colors are lifeless and boring and this one fits right in. Marsala is like a darkened dusty rose, a muted brick red, with a tiny bit of taupe thrown in there for good measure. It’s a nice departure from the jewel tones of the last couple of years. It’s also a lot more in line with what is actually going on in fashion right now. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Marsala pairs very well with this 90s revival we’ve been seeing with the darker makeup and brown lipsticks.

But do we really need to pair one trend with another? That almost seems like it defeats the purpose of having a color of the year, if they’re just going to align it with what we were already doing anyway.

Is it just me? Are you down with having a color of the year every year? Trends, even at their silliest and most pointless, are supposed to be fun, and I am the last person to hate on something that’s simply supposed to bring us a little joy. After all, I’ve been known to lose my mind over a color-changing nail polish or whatever, so it’s not like I take any of this too seriously. It just seems a little forced. To me, the people who would respond to the Color of the Year are the same people who would wear a band T-shirt without actually knowing any of the band’s music, just because they think it makes them cool (he types, wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, unable to name a single AC/DC song).

Am I putting too much thought into this? Am I taking this too seriously? Have I become what I fear the most: A hater? What trends do you hate? How do you feel about marsala? Was that seriously the cutest name they could come up with?

Tynan Sinks is a Beauty/Style contributor for xoJane.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME celebrities

Jon Stewart Imagines Life if He Ended Up With Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
Actress Angelina Jolie is seen leaving The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Dec. 4, 2014 in New York City. Gilbert Carrasquillo—GC Images/Getty Images

"We could have been a vodka brand!"

It’s been a long time since Jon Stewart worked with Angelina Jolie on a 1998 film called Playing by Heart, but the Oscar winner left a lasting impression on him.

“Ever since I met you about 20 years ago on set, I thought, ‘This person has talent coming out of everywhere,’ ” Stewart told the actress and director, who stopped by The Daily Show on Thursday. “You meet certain people and you go, ‘This person embodies something different, special.’ I’ve always thought that about you.”

In fact, he even came up with a Brangelina-like name for himself and Jolie, 39.

“If you’d ended up with me instead of Brad Pitt, our portmanteau – Stewart and Jolie – would have been ‘Stolie,’ ” he told the newlywed. “We could have been a vodka brand!”

Stewart, 52, was also full of praise for Jolie’s new film, Unbroken (out Dec. 25), which marks her second outing as a director. He described the big-budget film about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and World War II prisoner of war who survived 47 days lost at sea, as “epic” and asked his former rom-com costar if she felt daunted by undertaking a film of such scope.

“It took me off-guard,” Jolie admitted. “I remember waking up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘I don’t know how to film a shark attack.’ “

“You convince the studio, you say, ‘You should give me this job, I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m so sure of it.’ And then you get the job and you go, ‘Oh my, I’m not sure that I do.’ So every day was a challenge,” she added.

Jolie, who directed In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011, a film she also wrote, told Stewart that she enjoyed the “huge responsibility” of helming a film.

“I love directing,” Jolie said. “You’re there from the beginning until the end, shepherding every tiny detail.”

When Stewart asked if her interest in directing came from acting in films where she felt that maybe the director could have gone a different way with a scene, Jolie admitted that there were a few of her movies that she hadn’t seen “because I couldn’t sit through them.”

That prompted an adoring Stewart to lean forward, and as they batted eyes at each other he said, “Do you want to talk to me about them, because I’ve seen them all.”

But when Jolie returned the compliment and told the host that she and her husband watched The Daily Show at home, Stewart’s interest in her quickly evaporated.

What does the former PEOPLE Sexiest Man Alive wear when he watches the show, Stewart wanted to know. Just pajama pants and no top?

“Sometimes,” Jolie said with a smile.

“That feels right,” Stewart responded.

This article originally appeared on People.com


This Homer Simpson Statue Made Out of Junk Food Is the Perfect Tribute to Homer Simpson

"Does this make me look fat?"

Some people get a statue, others an honorary plaque. For Homer Simpson, who has for nearly three decades shared with us his low-brow gastronomical obsessions, it doesn’t get any more fitting than a replica fashioned from junk food.

Mandatory.com constructed “The Essence of Homer,” complete with Duff Beer, from gummy bears, powdered doughnuts, licorice, marshmallows, saltwater taffy and pancakes. The video is part of a series called “Fast Food Formations” (they also constructed a football stadium out of Slim Jims and balogna sandwiches), the gluttonous messages of which the site counters with a donation to a charity that aims to end childhood hunger.

There’s no one who deserves his likeness made from doughnuts more than the man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a single frosted doughnut.

TIME celebrities

Katie Nolan on Bartending, Regis and ‘Tweeter’ and One-upping Bumgarner

21st Century Fox, Inc And FOX Sports 1 Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell
Katie Nolan of Fox Sports poses for a picture after ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite on August 16, 2013 in New York City. Andrew Toth—FilmMagic/Getty Images

"I hate saying I’m a comedian, because then people stick their finger in your face and demand you tell a joke"

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A twentysomething Boston-based bartender of Italian and Irish heritage develops a cult following while riffing on sports and pop culture from some little-known corner of the Internet, then gets snapped up by a major sports media conglomerate for an unusual role. But this isn’t 2001, and Katie Nolan’s voice is an octave or two higher than Bill Simmons’s. In No Filter, her daily video series for foxsports.com, she’s saltier and saucier than cable sports’ usual fare. And the show’s D.I.Y. aesthetic — she works from a small studio, with two producers — would hardly fly on TV either. On a recent Wednesday we caught up with the 27-year-old Framingham, Mass., native at a bar near New York City’s Union Square.

Dickey: What do you usually tell people you do?

Nolan: I don’t know. I make funny videos. I hate saying I’m a comedian, because then people stick their finger in your face and demand you tell a joke. But the other thing people call me is “a YouTube sensation,” which is even worse.

Dickey:How’d you get started?

Nolan: I was bartending in Boston five, six nights a week, living in my grandmother’s condo. By the way, I’m a really good bartender — that’s the only skill I can confidently say I have. At the time I was really into Barstool [an aggressively impolitic Boston-centric sports and lifestyle site], and I thought I was good enough to write for it. So I started my own blog, called Bitches Can’t Hang, with my takes on pop culture and the news. It was so stupid. Have I mentioned it was so stupid? But somehow the blog Guyism found me and wanted to publish my posts.

Dickey: And how’d you get into video?

Nolan: Guyism wanted a daily video series. They told me they were planning on hiring a girl, and then hiring someone to write all her jokes. Then they figured it would be easier just to get me, so they offered me $750 a month to do it, which turned into an offer to move to New York and do it full-time for $30,000 a year. So I moved to Hoboken [N.J.] with two girls I found on Craigslist. Two or three months into that, one of my bosses came to me and said Fox wanted me for their new 24‑hour sports channel, and that if I went, the company that owned Guyism would get money. It was like a dowry. Oh, you’ll give us a cow, and we’ll give you Katie.

Dickey: Do you know how Fox found out about you?

Nolan: I have no idea. My YouTube videos weren’t even getting that many views. Maybe they thought, Oh, she’ll be cheap! Four different people at Fox have come up to me and said, You know, I’m the one who found you. And I think, Uh-huh, yeah, I’ve heard that. But you have to just smile and scream, “Oh, thank you! I owe you my life!”

Dickey: How’d your start go at Fox?

Nolan: They flew me out to L.A. for an audition, which I bombed. I had never read off a teleprompter, and I didn’t know I needed glasses. They told me I bombed it too. But they still wanted me. I had another screen test that went a little better. And then they told me they wanted to put me on a show with Regis Philbin. [Crowd Goes Wild, which ran from August 2013 until it was canceled last May.] I was like, What the f—? He’s still doing TV? I Googled him and found out he was 82. My grandmother is 82, and some days she doesn’t even put her teeth in.

Dickey: What’s Regis like?

Nolan: He’s exactly the person you see on TV. He came into my dressing room and said, “This tweeter you’re always talking about, what is it?” I told him it was on the Internet. He said, “Oh, they have it on there? How long would it take to teach me?” I said I could teach him, but it would take an hour a day for two weeks. He said, “Forget it, no thanks.”

Dickey: Any memorable interactions with athletes while doing the show?

Nolan: [Knicks guard] J.R. Smith was so nice. I’m a Patriots fan, so I wanted to hate [safety] Bernard Pollard and tell him he ruined my life. [Pollard’s hit in 2008 ended Tom Brady’s season.] But he was such a nice guy. The only guy who was really, really awful was [former NHL winger] Sean Avery. The most surprising thing was that I really never got hit on.

Dickey: What was it like when the show got canceled?

Nolan: The show had always been chaotic. On Mondays it felt like we were doomed. Tuesdays we felt we were getting the hang of it. By Wednesday we thought we had a hit. On Thursday someone was threatening to quit. And by each Friday, I was like, I don’t want to do this anymore. The day we got canceled, I got three calls from Fox — they all went to voice mail — saying, “We’re picking up your option. We just want you to know we see a bright future for you.” I didn’t even know they had an option! I was flattered.

Dickey: Now you’re doing No Filter for foxsports.com, and you’ve had some hits, like the video you did about Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner. How did you chug six beers?

Nolan: I saw some people write that the video was good up until I faked being drunk at the end. Boy, I wish. It happened so fast. We got the idea, and my boyfriend, Dan, brought the beers over, and in the 40 minutes it took me to drink them, I just kept looking at him off-camera, saying, “You’re so handsome, you’re so supportive. Am I slurring my words?” We were supposed to go on a date night. Instead he got me four pieces of pizza and put me in bed.

Dickey: You got a lot of pickup, too, for the serious piece you did about Ray Rice. Do you want to do more serious commentary?

Nolan: I make silly videos, that’s what I do. I don’t want people to get confused. But with the Rice thing, it had been on my mind. And I thought, as a woman in sports, I had to say something. I’m happy I got my point out there, that women should be represented more in sports media. They really should be. But some people thought I was saying I should be an analyst. And I can’t do that.

Dickey: So what do you want to do?

Nolan: I want to do something like what Jon Stewart does, for sports, something for college students to watch when they get home from the bars. They have shows like that in New Zealand and in England. But it’s never worked here — people take their sports too seriously. So we’re stuck with ESPN reacting to the news in the same five ways, all day, morning till night. But really, I’d just be happy writing jokes about sports and beer for other people.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

Correction: The original version of this story used an image of a different Katie Nolan. It has since been updated.


City Council Jokes it Will Castrate Mayor if Debt Not Resolved

Joke got sent out by accident

Talk about raising the stakes: if Carmel, Indiana can’t solve its debt problem, the mayor may have to say goodbye to his family jewels.

It’s a joke, but seems to have made its way into the packet distributed to City Council on Tuesday. In a flowchart outlining a contingency plan for dealing with the debt, someone listed “shoot council, castrate mayor, put head between legs, kiss ass goodbye,” as a last resort, USA Today reported.

Another option, according to the chart: increase property taxes “in amount necessary to cover obligation. Kiss political position goodbye.”

City Council President Eric Seidensticker said he made the flowchart months ago as a joke, and shared it with a consultant working with the Clerk Treasurer’s offices. “What you have there is a humorous version that was not meant for distribution,” he told IndyStar. “It was meant to be humorous. So they grabbed the wrong one.”

The events that led to the chart’s distribution are almost as hilarious. Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray is out of the office this week, so the consultant sent out the information packet, and included the joke chart instead of the real one. Seidensticker had gotten eye surgery, so he couldn’t read the packet to catch the error, and he sent the packet to all the Council Members. “I didn’t realize it until somebody (on the Council) called me,” he told IndyStar.

But despite the fact that this was clearly the work of two clowns, Diana Cordray got the blame. “The clerk-treasurer is paid well by the taxpayers and it is unfortunate she is using her time and city resources to promote political campaigns,” Mayor Jim Brainard said in a statement to Current in Carmel. “This blunder is just one in a long line of incompetent and politically motivated things that have emanated from her office.”

TIME Humor

Move Over, Movember, You’re Standing on My Mustache

A young man with a mustache wearing a striped t-shirt
Halfdark—Getty Images

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

It's a silly stunt to get attention. But for us proud, year-round mustache-wearers, mustaches should be taken at face value

Correction appended November 5, 2014

The days immediately following Halloween should be wonderful. With the costumes packed up, the leaves littering the ground, and the chill growing, November features the slow days of the fall that roll into the mad dash of the holiday season. There are pumpkin spice lattes, cashmere throws and, if you’re lucky, a fire in the fireplace to make you nice and cozy. November is a dream – unless you have a mustache.

Movember is a charitable event where men grow mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness and hopefully money for male cancers (like prostate cancer). It is like the Ice Bucket Challenge for the face, except not nearly as many celebrities do it (and certainly not Anna Wintour). Movember is also a scourge—well, at least for those of us who are proud Mustached Americans the whole year round.

It started already. Today an acquaintance I see regularly said to me, “Oh, look at your mustache for Movember.” While I appreciate people thinking that I’m altruistic enough to raise money for cancer, that is not the case. I have worked long and hard to grow and maintain my furry friend and it certainly did not pop up over the last five days. That’s sort of like visiting a vineyard in Burgundy and saying, “Oh, it’s so cute of you to have planted these grapes last week!” or asking every woman wearing pink in October if it’s for Breast Cancer Awareness month. (Also, what does it say about my friend – or me – that he doesn’t notice one of the more prominent details of my face 11 months out of the year.)

Like I said, raising money for cancer is great, but there is something about Movember that just feeds into the worst aspects of how mustaches are regarded. These days, when you can buy pacifiers that make babies look like they’re sporting lip sweaters or just about everything from notepads to dish soap in the shape of an old-timey handlebar mustache, the facial hair choice for millions is relegated to a joke. The same is true of Movember. It’s a silly stunt to get attention. A beard wouldn’t suffice because they are now so mainstream and connected with virility as to prove indistinguishable, but mustaches, on the other hand, are a punch line. Movember says, “Look at me, I have a mustache. Aren’t I wacky!”

Those of us who wear mustaches hear those jokes too often. “I love your porn ‘stashe,” a randy chap on Grindr will quip to me. Thanks to Burt Reynolds and John Holmes, the mustache will always be equated with pornography and bear skin rugs. There are worse connotations, but this one seems to align itself with a nasty stereotype that mustaches belong to perverts and pedophiles.

I’m often catcalled on the street for sporting a hirsute upper lip. Some people just shout out, “Mustache!” and point. Others, usually of the drunker variety on weekend nights in the bar-invested blocks of Manhattan, say things like, “Nice Hitler mustache, man.” First of all, there have been countless world leaders from Teddy Roosevelt to Martin Luther King who have sported mustaches, but the one everyone goes back to is Adolph Hitler. And my mustache is what is known as a chevron, similar to Tom Selleck’s, not a narrow toothbrush mustache like Charlie Chaplin’s and, ugh, Hitler’s. All mustaches do not look alike.

But that’s what we equate mustaches with: guys who wear trench coats and expose themselves in public and those responsible for genocide. That doesn’t take into account the many great people who have sported them, including so many of your friends, neighbors, relatives and gym teachers (why were gym teachers always mustachioed?). Sure, John Wilkes Booth had a mustache, but so did Albert Einstein! Why don’t we get credit for him?

And in Movember, all of these issues come to the fore, where so many guys think they are cute and clever for 30 days while they get a little fuzziness around the philtrum. They just make everyone think that all mustaches are ironic, that we don’t wear them to look good or express ourselves, but to try to look cool by looking bad (and maybe to push more jars of our hipster artisanal aioli spread at the Brooklyn Flea).

A mustache is a viable option to wear everyday, like sturdy underwear or galoshes, but even handsomer. I don’t have a mustache because I want to be ironic. My mustache is very serious and should be taken at face (ha!) value. I don’t have a mustache because I secretly want a beard (though the rest of my beard is as sparse as a Christmas tree farm on New Year’s Day).

I have a mustache because it looks good on my face and I like having it. I don’t shout disparaging remarks about your eyeglasses or bangs, or fake having them for a month as some jest (as well-intentioned as it may be). Yes, for the Mustached American, Movember is the cruelest month. Maybe all you Johnny-come-latelies can just make a donation and leave your lips bare. Save yourselves and the rest of us the humiliation. Let’s leave the serious business of having a mustache to the professionals.

Correction: The original version of this post stated that Movember is also known as “No Shave November.” It has been corrected.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Auburn’s Football Coach Dancing to ‘U Can’t Touch This’ Is the Essence of the ’90s

The dance moves aren't a touchdown, but his humility is

As Jimmy Fallon’s “Evolution of End Zone Dancing” reminds us, football fans are no strangers to inspired moves. It’s not unusual for coaches to get a little riled up on the sidelines, gesturing wildly to their quarterbacks or lamenting a play gone rogue. Auburn University football coach Gus Malzahn has had his fair share of sideline jigs, most notably involving the rapid rotation of his hands. And from the looks of this new video unearthed from a family vacation, Malzahn’s moves are years in the making.

In the video, Malzahn dances to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” pulling out favorites from his arsenal of dad moves: the opposite-arm-opposite-knee-pump, the reel-it-in, and a half-decent attempt at break dancing. While he may never have expected the glory of Internet fame — at least not for his dance moves — Malzahn certainly made no efforts to hide his talents in the past. In a 2009 profile, he admits to showing the video to his team at Shiloh Christian High School before playoff games. And the YouTube user who posted the video got the clip from his 2001 Springdale High School Highlights DVD.

The video was recorded on a family vacation to Six Flags in 1996. Despite his protestations, his daughters kept laying on the pressure. “Finally I had enough,” he said in a radio interview yesterday, “and I said, ‘No, I’m going to do it.’ So, I went in there and of course we got it done.” Sounds like the words of a football coach. You can fault him for his lack of rhythm, but you can’t fault a guy who has a sense of humor about himself.

TIME viral

Watch the Danish National Chamber Orchestra Perform After Eating World’s Hottest Chili Peppers

The performance was, in a word, hot.

How do you get your orchestra to perform a more rousing rendition of Tango Jalousie? Force them to eat some of the world’s hottest chili peppers before placing lips to bassoon and bow to cello. In what appears to be either a playful marketing gag or the most sadistic tactics ever used by a conductor, the Danish National Chamber Orchestra attempted to hold it together while performing under the influence of chili peppers.

Led by conductor Claus “Chili” Pilgaard and concertmaster Erik Heide, the orchestra began the piece on empty stomachs and then, partway through, popped the peppers as if on cue. The next several minutes have them grimacing, crying, and steadily reddening until the final note, at which point they place their expensive instruments carefully on the floor and flee the stage.

To the musicians’ credit, the execution sounded flawless, at least to an untrained ear. You might even say they were on fire.

TIME advice

How to Respond to a Fat Joke Made About You

Speech bubble
Getty Images

Not everyone can be as gracefully cunning as Andy Richter or Gabourey Sidibe, but you can try


This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

I am rarely watching broadcast TV late at night — at 11 p.m. I’m usually reading a book (currently: America’s Founding Food) and debating whether it’s too late to eat a huge bowl of pickles while my spouse shoots at fake wizardy aliens on the videogamez.

So I usually hear about things that happen on late night TV, later. And thus, last week Marci sent me a clip from Conan. To sum up: Chelsea Handler is on Conan’s couch, talking to Conan about swimming in the ocean. She asks Conan if he likes to swim in the ocean, which Conan answers in the affirmative. Handler then turns to Conan’s sidekick (and, because it’s pertinent here, portly gentleman) Andy Richter, seated on her other side, and asks him the same question, which he also answers positively. But Handler lingers.

“Do you float… a lot… in the ocean?” she asks, nodding. Nervous laughter from the studio audience. It sounds like a thready segue into a fat joke, more than a fat joke itself, as though she’s — heh — testing the waters.

Richter, who like many members of the Double-Chin Division of the Corpulence Army can probably recognize even an uncertain effort at a joke about his size, takes an instant to process. Then, before Handler can move on, he replies, “Why, do you sink?” Waits a beat. “Might be that cast-iron heart.”

It is one of the more charming responses to a fat-related jibe in recent memory, partly because it’s delivered with such grace and humor. Richter manages to call out Handler on a cheap, unfunny non-joke about his weight with a witty left hook that both illuminates the casual hurtfulness of these sorts of punching-down quips, and also affirms his individual humanity and dignity — the first thing to get tossed in these moments, when a person’s appearance is itself the punchline. And not only does he out-joke her, he manages to point out the cruelty of her approach (“cast-iron heart” indeed), AND to make her laugh at herself.

Richter’s response is the ideal reaction in such public circumstances, chapter and verse. He spots the joke forming, and kills it with a better, funnier joke, and he does it while smiling and laughing himself. It’s so perfect that if not for Handler’s uncontrollable laughter, I would have thought it was planned. He survives the moment and comes out stronger than his would-be insulter in the end.

Sometimes, this happens, but it’s rare; sometimes a person in receipt of a fat joke in an incredibly public circumstance can manage to own that situation entirely. When the ever-magnificent Gabourey Sidibe was subject to vicious Twitter mockery for her Golden Globes dress back in January, she responded by tweeting, “To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK” And all of Twitter — NAY, THE WHOLE OF THE INTERNET — died over how hairflippingly cool this was, how perfectly and endearingly she managed to tell the losers making whale jokes to get over themselves.

Unfortunately, not everyone is Andy Richter or Gabourey Sidibe. And not everyone has the resources to bounce back from “playful” insults, whether they’re malicious or not.

I’m not opposed to fat jokes, when they’re funny; it’s just that so few of them are. They typically follow the punching-down model of humor that preys on people who are the easiest targets to hit and the least likely to have the practiced confidence necessary to defend themselves in the moment (although we’re all brilliant about it in the shower two days later). Jokes that punch down take people who are already battling against cultural assumptions and makes them victims. No one likes to be made to feel like a victim. It’s not funny.

And even when they do make you laugh, it’s important to remember that these jokes often rely on social inequities that position fat people as less human, and as less worthy of respect, consideration, or sympathy.

Chris Farley built a career out of making fat jokes about himself; today, critics are eager to ding Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson for allowing weight to be a central aspect of the characters they play. But I can’t blame either of them. Fat doesn’t disappear just because you refuse to acknowledge it. If you’re a fat performer, people will make fat jokes about you no matter how much you demand to be taken seriously.

And if you’re a fat comic actor, people will make your weight something to laugh at regardless of whether the script or your performance intends for them to do so. This happens because we live in a media culture that has historically only taught us to read fat bodies in two roles: as a punchline, or as a tragedy. (We can hope that this is changing, however.) It’s little wonder that fat performers should try to get in front of that wave, and try to ride it to a place they can feel good about, rather than letting it wash over them and take their agency away.

This is true for lots of us, in fact; without a ready rejoinder to fire back at every hilarious insult, we’re entirely prepared to laugh and play along because drawing attention to how cruel these jokes can feel seems like betraying a weakness; it would be saying, “These things are hurtful, and they hurt me, and it’s not okay.” Which means you necessarily have no sense of humor, right? Because failing to laugh at one thing means you can never ever laugh at anything else in the world ever for the rest of your life.

The first time I ever experienced a fat joke made publicly at my expense was in the 6th grade. I was at a special school breakfast for some patriotic holiday, and the mayor of my hometown was present. Somehow, as we all slid down the long benches attached to the lunchroom’s tables, I wound up sitting directly across from him.

The breakfast plates of scrambled eggs and sausage were disturbingly cold and hard, and no one ate much of that, but at the end of the meal trays of mini powdered donuts were put out on the table. I initially took two, since they were small — I was already keenly aware of my weight and how my peers thought of me — and began eating them. But after seeing my classmates unreservedly grabbing up handfuls, I took two more.

“That’s a lot of donuts you’ve got there!” The mayor bellowed, pointing at my plate and laughing. My classmates all looked at me and laughed as well. I stopped eating at once, and began wishing desperately for a sudden illness to render me unconscious.

This would have been bad enough, but then, when the mayor went up to the stage to address the whole school, he referenced it again: “I’ve never seen donuts disappear so fast!” He laughed again. “There was one chubby girl who went back twice!” And it was like MY WHOLE MIDDLE SCHOOL TURNED AROUND AND LOOKED AT ME. Like a scene in a movie. The mayor told the whole school I was fat and ate a bunch of donuts. I couldn’t make this up. The fact that the mayor himself was undeniably fat was little comfort; hell, part of me is still angry at him, and he’s been dead for like 20 years or something.

Twelve-year-old Lesley could do nothing but sit and turn red. Since then, I’ve rarely suffered such events in embarrassed silence. I’ve done almost every approach to jokes and insults lobbed at me in public. I’ve made vulgar quips right back (“Sorry, I got this fat because your mom bakes me pie,”), I’ve responded cheerfully and unflappably (“Thanks for noticing! All my hard work is paying off!”), and I’ve given people a stone-faced, “That’s actually not funny at all.” And for my trouble, sometimes I am doubly humiliated, but sometimes I come out the winner. It’s okay to laugh it off, but it’s equally okay to get mad. I just can’t bear not responding at all.

For the most part, people who make fat jokes are not vicious monsters. They just don’t always realize how they might be unwittingly having a lasting hurtful effect on the people around them. They need to be told.

That’s why watching the clip between Chelsea Handler and Andy Richter is so thrilling. It’s thrilling to see someone making a cheap shot about someone’s appearance get their comeuppance, and to have that comeuppance come in such a perfect form that even she has to laugh at it — and at herself.

Lesley Kinzel is Deputy Editor at xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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