my team went on a Redneck Comedy bus tour and it was as bad as you’d expect

A reader writes:

I work in the marketing department of a fairly large healthcare company. I’ve been with the company for 15 years and with the marketing team for 12, and my coworkers are one of my favorite things about my job. We all get along really well, my boss and grandbosses are extremely supportive, and there is literally no drama in our department ever (there has been in the past, but the people who bring the drama always end up leaving or getting let go).

I say all that to say that what I’m writing about today is definitely an anomaly in an otherwise extremely positive work experience.

We all work remotely, but we get together in person twice a year for a couple of days and we recently had one of those meetings. We usually have one or two optional social outings, which I always attend because I enjoy hanging out with my coworkers. We’ve done things like going on a dolphin cruise, doing an escape room, happy hours, that kind of thing.

Well, this time, our administrative assistant, “Gina.” scheduled us for a Redneck Comedy bus tour. And yes, it was just EXACTLY how you would imagine it to be based on the name. I decided to give it a chance, because maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I was expecting and plus, like I said, I enjoy hanging with my coworkers so I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to do that.

But it was definitely as bad as I expected. I don’t think this guy told a single joke that wasn’t racist, sexual, or misogynistic, if not all three. And the crazy thing to me is that Gina mentioned that she had warned the guy that we were a corporate group so he should keep everything HR-appropriate. I shudder to think what his non-HR-appropriate schtick was.

So I guess my question is: am I crazy or is that type of thing wildly inappropriate for a work-sponsored outing? Everyone else (there were 10 of us altogether) seemed to think it was hilarious, although I did see a few of them occasionally groaning at some of the worst jokes. And I feel like it’s important to note that the single black person on our team chose not to attend, which I can’t imagine is a coincidence since she’s participated in all the other activities we’ve done on past trips.

I’m going back and forth on whether I should speak up and say something. I didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s fun, but I kind of regret that now, since it probably seemed like I was perfectly fine with it. But now Gina sent us a survey to fill out and one of the questions has to do with feedback on the social portion of the week. I feel pretty confident that my boss and grandbosses would hear me out and there would be zero retaliation or bad reactions or anything from them. I guess I just need a little confirmation that my gut feeling about the whole thing isn’t off-base.

You are not off-base. Speak up!

This is egregious enough that you should speak up even if you weren’t being asked for feedback, but your opinion is being actively solicited! There is zero reason to keep your concerns to yourself, and tons of reasons to speak up.

Nearly every joke being racist, sexual, or misogynistic puts this so over the line that I’m baffled that Gina didn’t say something in the moment or immediately afterwards, given that earlier she’d thought about it enough to warn the comic to keep it work-appropriate. At a minimum she should have acknowledged it afterwards — but it would have been better to short-circuit the show once it was clear bigotry and sexism would be the theme. To be fair to Gina, that’s hard to do mid-show if you’re not in a senior role. But someone else there in a position of leadership should have.

Broadly speaking, stand-up comedy can be tricky for workplace events, since so much humor relies on being edgy and one person’s “edginess” is another person’s offensiveness. So any work group hiring a comedian needs to be clear ahead of time about what’s off-limits and make sure the comedian will adhere to that — and they also need to be willing to step in if things go off the rails.

And ugh, my heart hurts for your coworker, who sounds like she had a pretty good idea ahead of time of what this was likely to be and now has to grapple with the fact that her coworkers happily went and seemed to enjoy it.

Please speak up, and don’t sugarcoat it.

{ 408 comments… read them below }

  1. Nia*

    I’m not baffled Gina didn’t say anything, she probably thought it was all appropriate. That she was familiar enough with his normal comedy to know to warn him to keep it HR friendly and booked him anyway tells you everything you need to know about Gina.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Same sentiment here.

      Definitely provide your feedback. I might go a smidge further and provide more of a “this type of comedy is not professionally appropriate for X, Y, and Z reasons” and a more personal bit of feedback to your boss/grandboss.

      1. Momma Bear*

        I agree – speak up. If this is what he thought was appropriate after being told to keep it HR friendly – yikes. Gina may already be expecting this kind of feedback, but even if she isn’t, it’s not something to let slide. Please let the company know (and if you think the bosses won’t be informed, make sure they know) that this was inappropriate and uncomfortable.

        1. Ellie*

          And OP, you need to prevent it from happening again. The only way to do that is to be honest with your feedback. I feel so horrible for your co-worker who didn’t go! Why didn’t Gina cancel the outing at that point? It must have been so obvious.

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      That conclusion requires assumptions that are not un-feasible (is that a word?) but also not present in the details in this letter, so I wouldn’t come to that conclusion based off just the information that we have here.

      1. JFC*

        Yeah, I agree. Gina could have just issued some general guidance about keeping things work appropriate without knowing anything specific about the comic. Same as someone in HR might give guidance about the trip’s dress code or social drinking to employees ahead of time. There’s nothing to indicate this was specific to the comic.

          1. Festively Dressed Earl*

            Agreed. OED defines “redneck” as “a working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area.” It’s disingenuous to say sexism, racism, and homophobia aren’t expected on a redneck comedy tour.

            *Emphasis mine. And yes I know ‘not all rednecks’, I’m talking about likelihood here.

          2. Phony Genius*

            Even the word “r*****k” itself is considered offensive in some circles, and forbidden in some workplaces.

            1. Quill*

              And while some residents of the Appalachians have been reclaiming that term, generally comedians aren’t… at the forefront of that kind of effort.

              1. Anonymel*

                Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engval, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, etc.. all built their careers around “Redneck” Comedy and Jeff specifically around “you may be a redneck if….”.

                1. br_612*

                  Sure, but generally in a way that conforms to the stereotype, including playing up their accents (looking at you here Foxworthy).

                  And several of them did in fact have borderline offensive jokes, even for the time.

                  What Quill means about Appalachians reclaiming the word, is the coal miner rednecks. The men and women who put their lives on the line for labor reform at the Battle of Blair Mountain, who helped usher in unions and worker protections. And did it while wearing red bandanas as a show of solidarity.

                  The comedians are profiting off of rural stereotypes that keep a lot of people assuming that the South and Appalachia are backwards, bigoted, and not worth campaigning in for progressive candidates. Appalachians reclaiming the term are pushing for recognition of the region’s contributions to worker protections, and are generally pro-union and pro-worker’s rights. They’re trying to remind everyone that they are a currently largely untapped resource for progressive policies, but that those policies need to account for the realities of life in Appalachia (you can’t campaign on changes in the coal mining industry there if you’re not going to address the limited job opportunities that have people dependent on coal for jobs)

            2. Nomic*

              what circles would that be? Honestly asking. I’ve never heard redneck used as a pejorative, and *** out letters seems silly in this context.

                1. Bananapantsfeelings*

                  I’ve only heard it used by people about themselves. I definitely don’t think of it as a slur, so this conversation is eye opening.

              1. metadata minion*

                I’ve almost exclusively heard it used as a pejorative or at best a self-deprecating joke.

              2. Boof*

                It’s usually slang for someone white, rural, and without much money / usually without much formal education (hence their neck is red from chronic sunburn). There’s ways of trying to “Reclaim” stereotypes and I guess every group has it’s go with making a derogatory word a badge of pride, but let’s say it’s about as useful in professional lingo as any other stereotype slang, which is to say, really doesn’t belong.

                1. TeaCoziesRUs*

                  Red neck from working in the sun all day… as opposed to the precious white collar workers in nice AC jobs. ;)

            3. Jillian*

              Only among those who consider themselves superior to those in rural errors. Donald Trump once ridiculously fired an Apprentice candidate for referring to himself as a “redneck” which DT called a slur. To those of us in the flyover areas, it normally just means someone who works outside for a living (thus having a red neck), like a farmer, construction worker, etc. Despite Jeff Foxworthy, it doesn’t mean stupid.

                1. Goldfeesh*

                  In my rural area (that being Iowa) if you’re proudly calling yourself a redneck you’re also looking down on anyone living in the city, calling people from Chicago thugs (and you’re not talking about white people) and your 15-year-old daughter has been brainwashed into wearing a Trump 2024 shirt/hat. (Why yes, I did just see that this week at the restaurant I work).

          3. The OG Sleepless*

            A very well-known comedian who uses the word “redneck” a great deal in his act has zero misogyny or racism in his act, at least that I have ever heard. I wouldn’t have necessarily expected it either.

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              I know! I’ve never heard it from him either. “If you have to wash your hands *before* using the bathroom, you might be a redneck…”

              1. tangerineRose*

                When I saw the heading, I thought of this comedian and also the “Here’s your sign” guy. Then I read the article. Yikes!

            2. JSPA*

              Yeah there’s a subtype of redneck humor that’s folk humor, and focuses on gentle ribbing of one’s own rural experience.

              I remember a short story about someone who had boiled a skunk overnight (for the grease), only to have family come home (from hunting?) late, famished, exhausted and empty handed, and eat the skunk meat from the pot before bed.

              There’s also gently skewering one’s own people (whoever they may be) for being racist, sexist, phobic; it trades in the stereotypes, but doesn’t buy into them. Depends on the workplace whether it’s potentially work- appropriate, might require a warning… but it’s not, “women can’t drive, amirite?” humor.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                Boiling a skunk sounds malodorous. Dare I ask what skunk grease is used for?

                1. JSPA*

                  I don’t remember whether it was something mechanical, waterproofing, or lumbago (after adding a lot of herbs???) but…yeah. Maybe it was already well-dosed with mint, as it cooked?

              2. The OG Sleepless*

                My brother heard of somebody who had shot a vulture while he was out hunting, and proudly brought it home. His wife read him the riot act for being dumb. They tried their best to eat it, but they just couldn’t.

          4. Ellie*

            I mean, there’s a redneck show at Dreamworld in Queensland which isn’t any of those things, just dumb cowboys and cowgirls doing stunts with whips. But being familiar with the comic, she must have known what it was going to be like. Even if she trusted him to tone it down, the fact that the only black person on the team wasn’t going should have tipped her off that it was a bad idea. Finally, if the show’s content was a shock, and she was too nervous to stop it mid-show, she should at minimum have sent out a notification to the team later on, saying that she was mortified by the content and of course will not be organising any more events there.

            The fact that she did none of those things speaks volumes.

            1. tangerineRose*

              The fact that she knew she needed to tell him to tone it down seems like the beginning of the problem. There are some comedians who don’t use this type of jokes, and if you can’t afford one of them, then do a different activity!

      2. Lab Rabbit*

        This is where I land. People are being unnecessarily harsh on Gina without having all the facts. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster she’s not the one who wrote it.

      3. NerdyKris*

        Yeah, there’s no indication Gina was a huge fan or even aware of this guy. That’s a pretty standard line to give. It didn’t mean she knew he’d be sexist. You can tell a totally feminist joke about sex and it’s still not appropriate for a work event.

        1. What_the_What*

          It’s also possible she told him, he said “Sure, yep,” and then completely ignored her because… he’s already been paid and he’s gonna do his schtick and who’s gonna stop him. *Shrug*

        2. irritable vowel*

          Yeah, I suspect that Gina thought of “work appropriate” in the sense of “no jokes about sex or using swear words.” She didn’t think that racism, sexism, homophobia would be part of this guy’s act. I don’t think she made a great choice in selecting this comedy act for a workplace event, and yes, she or someone should ideally have spoken up, but that’s really hard! Interrupting a professional performer to tell them to tone it down? I’d like to think I could do that, but it would be hard.

      4. HonorBox*

        Yep. I just heard a comedian say the other day that he’s struggled to not swear on live TV, even when (and especially when) he’s reminded not to curse on live TV. This guy was thoughtful about it. It could very well have been that the comedian on this trip was given a warning/reminder and willfully chose not to follow the instructions. That’s not on Gina. She was attentive to the idea that it was a work trip, and was probably mortified and unsure in the moment what to do.

    3. Lea*

      Yes if you know in advance you have to warn someone to keep it appropriate (although to be fair this could have been about sexual material or cursing or what have you) it’s probably a bad choice!

      So bad as to be baffling honestly, I had initially thought they were going out to a comedy club or something but they brought this person in???!!! Yikes

      1. TheBunny*

        Not necessarily. When I bring my husband to work events I usually remind him it’s a work event and to please remember that…not that I really think he won’t but because that’s what one does.

        1. Expelliarmus*

          Okay, but your husband isn’t tasked with being the entertainer at your work event, so this seems like an “apples to oranges” kind of thing.

          1. dawbs*

            eh, presenting to groups is a semi regular party of my job and I’ve been reminded about expectations (in spite of the fact that, by definition, everything i do is”family friendly”)

            I do sometimes appreciate reminders that in this group, there’s no “taking the lord’s make in vain “and that “fart”is a swear, as is ‘stupid’. Because I’ve ended up in the wrong side of this before and i don’t want those angry parents again- regardless if how out of touch i consider some rules

      2. Bananapantsfeelings*

        Standup comedy is rarely work appropriate. Especially at the lesser-known levels, it tends to be pretty filthy in both language and content.

        The exceptions are Dry Bar in Provo Utah, and Mike Warnke the evangelical standup smash in the 90s. Even Josh Johnson – who’s gentle and deep and sweet – sometimes uses cuss words.

        Though interestingly, Shayne Smith the face-tattooed ex-gang member CAN and does do Dry Bar extremely well, but I’d still say some of his topics might not be work appropriate even without cursing.

    4. RagingADHD*

      Nope, the fact that she warned him does not indicate that she was familiar with his work or a fan. The entertainers you get on packaged events like a bus tour are rarely, if ever, the same entertainers you’d see on TV or even YouTube. Sometimes you don’t even know which act you’re going to get until the day of. It’s more likely that she warned him (or warned the tour organizers) because she is conscientious.

      Having been an admin in charge of booking team outings, she may just as well have booked it based on price, availability, accessibility (there’s no athletic component, after all) and/or the menu. She may in fact be soliciting feedback because she is mortified and nervous about what to say.

      There’s no reason to assume the admin is racist. She is tasked with the nearly impossible job of finding regular social events, and it’s far more likely that she happened to get screwed on this one.

      1. Nia*

        She knew it was a redneck comedy bus tour. That’s literally enough to tell you exactly what kinds of jokes you’re going to get.

        1. Rachel*

          Please rethink that wild generalization, there are many people who are simultaneously progressive and redneck. That some of them do comedy is not an unimaginable situation.

          1. Festively Dressed Earl*

            OED definition of redneck.

            a working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area.

            If a comic is billed this way, there’s a high enough likelihood of racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry that Gina should have familiarized herself with the content before scheduling this.

          2. Retired Accountant*

            Or, they could be redneck, and politically conservative but not racist or sexist.

            I give little credence to the OED dictionary definition. I’m pretty sure many or most people who would call themselves rednecks are not particularly political.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Same. Back in the day Jeff Foxworthy defined Redneck as “a lack of class, grace, or refinement that was either temporary or permanent.”

              The historical background of the term came from the old Deep South, where farmers would put bandannas around their neck to catch the sweat, but the heat and the sweat would cause some of the cheaper red dyed bandannas to stain the back of their neck.

              Most languages are living and evolving organisms, because we are actively interacting with our languages.

            2. Your Former Password Resetter*

              Politically conservative usually comes with racism, sexism, or things of that nature though. Especially in the US rural south.

        2. Bibliothecarial*

          If you’re already familiar with it :). Jeff Foxworthy used to be on our local radio station but they only played the PG stuff where he was poking fun at himself and other rednecks. I didn’t know about the other stuff until after college.

          1. HonorBox*

            I immediately went to Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. It could very well have been that Gina thought that she was booking THAT kind of show… the one that was out there A LOT and is something I’d have happily showed my kids.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            This. There are vast swaths of comedians who specialize in in-group self-deprecation, for pretty much any group you can imagine. Foxworthy worked this hard. I would have guessed that any redneck comedy would be along those lines. This guy seems to instead have run to making fun of other groups, from a redneck perspective. That is not good on many levels, with “not funny” far from the top of the list.

            1. Clisby*

              Yes. As I said elsewhere in this thread, my first thought was Trae Crowder, who bills himself as the Liberal Redneck, and is entirely likely to go off on a tirade against book-banning and Donald Trump. Of course, that might not sit well with some listeners.

              I don’t think comedy, no matter who the comedian, is a good choice for a work event.

              1. Rachel*

                Corey Ryan Forrester (who has toured and produced content with Trae Crowder) is another. I know people who are both progressive and entirely appropriately described as rednecks, it’s not that wild a concept to me.
                But yeah, comedy is overall a bad fit for a work event – any comedy that can promise not to offend…is incredibly unlikely to be good.

            2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              My thought was that Gina booked the tour thinking she’d get a Bill Engvall or a Jeff Foxworthy type (more on the let’s poke fun at ourselves/the stereotypes about our group style of humor – but adult enough to know their audience) and instead ended up with more of a Ron White (how crass can I get away with being tonight type). It’s possible to know and enjoy the milder guys in a genre and not at all know about the more out there folks in the same genre.

              And the keep it HR Friendly comment to me just sounds like boilerplate HR/Corporate booking material.

            3. PhyllisB*

              Yep. Jeff Foxworthy used to swear some in his adults only shows (at casinos and such) but he’s never been sexist or racist. Bill Engvall is another good example. if you’ve never heard any of his Here’s Your Sign routines, you have missed a treat.

              1. The OG Sleepless*

                Jeff Foxworthy is who I was referencing above. I’ve never heard him say anything misogynistic or racist (in his act or in person; I’ve met him IRL and he is a super nice guy).

          3. Observer*

            where he was poking fun at himself and other rednecks.

            Which is a red flag right there. It’s one thing when someone pokes fun at their own group. But clearly he saw “redneck” as a group that had certain negative connotations, so he used it in his comedy. Anyone else using the term would be using it pejoratively not in a way of “affectionately poking at my family.”

            The title should have been a red flag. That is wasn’t says that Gina doesn’t not have great judgement.

        3. Kay*

          This is where I’m coming down. Regardless of whether anyone knew who the comedian was, etc. It was a REDNECK COMEDY BUS TOUR! I’m assuming that also means people couldn’t even get up and walk out if they wanted! I’m so so baffled here.

          1. Saturday*

            Yes! It’s all right there in the name. LW could tell just from that it was going to be trouble, and of course she was right.

            And the guy’s not going to write a whole new routine because someone says to keep it HR friendly.

            1. Pippa K*

              Some of the people here treating “redneck” as a synonym for “bigot” might want to dial it down a bit. It’s really striking how people who are usually pretty careful about stereotypes remain absolutely committed to this one. The problem with this comedy performance was the bigotry, not the redneckery.

              1. Nia*

                I’m not stereotyping rednecks I’m stereotyping comedians advertising their comedy as redneck. It’s a dog whistle I have no idea why a normally progressive comment base is falling over themselves to pretend it’s not.

                1. Stella*

                  Yes to Lab Rabbit and Owlet! Classism is a bias that we Americans generally don’t think about, and lots of us think it doesn’t exist in the US (even autocorrect made it very hard for me to type “classism”!). But it’s meant to keep people – women, people of color, disabled people, poor people, immigrants – in their place. Stereotyping maintains the “us vs. them” dynamic, which only benefits the powers that be.

              2. Observer*

                Some of the people here treating “redneck” as a synonym for “bigot” might want to dial it down a bit

                That’s not the issue. It’s true that, despite the OED, Redneck does not necessarily equal bigot. But when it’s used by outsiders, it is *always* a pejorative, whether to indicate bigotry or just “low class” (uneducated, etc.)

                The chances of an act with that name living up to the *stereotype* is too high to take a chance in a setting like this.

        4. RagingADHD*

          No, it actually isn’t “literally enough to tell you exactly what kinds of jokes you’re going to get.”

          If you read more of the comment thread, you’ll find quite a lot of people who have entirely different associations with the term. For myself, my first association with “redneck comedy” is the quiz show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader,” which would not lead me to expect offensive humor. The second is Ron White’s bit about how “we’re all a little bit gay,” which is certainly NSFW but in an entirely different way.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            It’s about appealing to an audience and having a range. Some folks have a really wide range and adapt well to different audiences (think Jeff Foxworthy, Robin Williams, Bob Saget, and in the world of music Alice Cooper or Lady Gaga) and others just have basically one routine and a much narrower audience base. When you’re trying to do a show for a large group it’s better to grab a person from the first category.

          2. Dahlia*

            My mom and I still quote Ron White’s, “They call me Tator Salad” and “my son, Tator Tot”.

        5. Anonymel*

          I wouldn’t stereotype like that. I think Jeff Foxworthy is very funny and he’s known almost exclusively for his “Redneck” humor. His entire career started with “You might be a redneck if….” jokes and he was super clean and family friendly.

        6. Ellie*

          Honestly I can see her making a mistake based on the name – the redneck stuff can be done gently and not everyone is familiar with the culture. But she knew that the only black person on the team decided to opt out, and she knows now, 100%, what the show contained. A survey is an extremely weak response to that. She’s treating this as a ‘majority rules’ thing, instead of a ‘racism is not tolerated at work’ thing. Honestly, I’d find some way of reporting it to my supervisor, if I was OP, I wouldn’t just use the survey. This needs to be shut down.

      2. Banana Pyjamas*

        I tend to agree with Raging. My sibling did school group tours for a river cruise line. The employee schedule determined which “Professor” the students had. The school groups had to schedule in advance, but they didn’t get to choose who did the tour.

      3. Football fan*

        I live in Nashville, and I hope to provide some context. I’m not sure where this took place, but the folks who own the Redneck Comedy Bus Tour operate tours in Nashville, the Ozarks (Branson), and the Smokies (Gatlinburg). It’s modeled on Jeff Foxworthy’s Redneck Comedy Tour (Jeff Foxworthy et al). Jeff Foxworthy is quick to point out that we are making fun of ourselves and he abhors racism and absolutely does not want his comedy to be associated with such a disgusting viewpoint. For those who are saying “It says REDNECK in the title! What did you expect?!” We call ourselves rednecks and hillbillies all the time to make fun of our “glorious lack of sophistication,” as Foxworthy puts it. We’re not saying “haha! We’re racist!” If an employee of a commercially operated tour that is meant for everyone–including families, as the ones I mentioned are–is offering jokes that are “racist, sexist, and misogynistic,” that is almost certainly not what the tour operators mean to offer. That is insane. In addition to providing feedback to HR, someone should let the tour operator know and give specific examples. Unless this tour was the edgiest tourist attraction on the planet, there’s got to be a miscommunication somewhere here.

    5. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I don’t know how it’s helpful to jump right to negative snap judgments about a person who the LW knows in much greater detail than we do and likes.

    6. Am A Comedian*

      You don’t necessarily know the comic you’re booking for events. I don’t know the format of this particular bus tour, but I know that in my town there’s group of comedians anyone could reach out to and book, but it’s a bit of a crapshoot as to which comedian actually ends up going.

      If you’re hiring a comedian for a corporate event it’s wise to let them know it’s corporate no matter who it is regardless of whether you know them or not.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        This was my thought. She booked the tour hoping for a more Bill Engvall “Here’s Your Sign” style comic and well – got the polar opposite.

    7. Looper*

      100% agree. Also, it’s a real bummer to find out so many coworkers also found him “hilarious”.

    8. PhyllisB*

      I’ll bet I know who the comedian is. And giving him a warning like that would just be a challenge. I live in the South, and I like Redneck comedy, but if it’s who I suspect, I won’t listen to him.

    9. JMc*

      Is there anything in the letter that even said Gina attended this outing? She may well have, but I think the letter only says she was the one who booked it. I’m almost 40, and I kinda wonder if the majority of people younger than I would be overly familiar with this particular genre of comedy. I only vaguely recall Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, and Ron White from my childhood (which was in the rural South). For that matter, the tamer of those were just self-deprecating, if silly, not what the OP is describing. Gina may have just been like, local comedy bus tour, let’s do it, and have no idea what actually went down.

    10. Runcible Wintergreen*

      Gina may not have been there at all. In my experience admins are often responsible for booking activities that they are not going to participate in. Which is why OP should definitely answer the survey and be very honest about what they thought, as Gina needs to know that this wasn’t a good choice!

      If I had to guess, this bus tour/whatever had something on their website that says “great for parties, birthdays, corporate events!” and she just went with it, not fully realizing what it would be like. “Redneck comedy” to me sounds like Jeff Foxworthy or Chonda Pierce – someone “country”, not necessarily offensive. I realize that’s not what most people would think, and if I were booking it I would certainly attempt to do some more research, but I just don’t think “redneck comedy” is as obvious a phrase as most people are interpreting here.

      1. newfiscalyear*

        I live in a popular Southern tourist city where there are multiple tourist buses like this that cater to all ages, so I would assume that “Redneck tour” would take a few innocent self-deprecating jabs and joke about country-related topics. Dolly Parton considers herself a “redneck” and a “hillbilly” and one wouldn’t expect those topics to cross her lips in public. So, it’s possible, based on where the LW is located booking that type event for locals that seems “popular with tourists” would make Gina safely assume that it wasn’t going to be so inappropriate.

    11. Observer*

      she probably thought it was all appropriate. That she was familiar enough with his normal comedy to know to warn him to keep it HR friendly and booked him anyway tells you everything you need to know about Gina.

      I don’t know if I agree that she thought it was appropriate. But I *d9* most definitely agree that hiring them was REALLY bad judgement.

      In fact, LW, I would point that out. Like “If there is ever so much concern that a gig might be inappropriate that you have to warn them about it, it’s really only sensible to not hire. This should not have been a surprise to her.”

      1. Runcible Wintergreen*

        Why would she not mention or comment that it was a work event? Even if she DID think that it would be appropriate, it is simply sensible that she’d mention it’s a work event when booking.

        If Gina had said nothing to the comedian and said later “I saw their other material and it was fine, so I assumed this event would be the same”, everyone would be criticizing her for not speaking up and communicating with the company before booking. Why is overcommunication bad in this situation?

    12. Princess Sparklepony*

      Gina may have heard the uncensored act and so the “HR friendly” act was a big change.

      But I’m just cringing at the idea of being stuck on a bus with a terrible comic. That would be one of the circles of my personal hell.

    13. Shar*

      I looked up this comedy bus tour. It gets very good reviews on trip advisor and nobody is complaining it’s racist or sexist that I could see. I’m not saying therefore it was ok, just that if Gina chose the tour based on online reviews, I don’t blame her, she just didn’t know what to expect. If truly the other nice people in the office didn’t care, is it at all possible that OP is more sensitive than others? The black person didn’t attend so wouldn’t know either right?

  2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    goodness yes speak up.

    Comedy is so subjective that this should go in the Do Not Consider List. Just some things are not work appropriate events, even if in general they are not considered bad.

    Telling a comic to change their whole routine that they have practiced and refined for months is not going to fly. This was his routine, not his HR approved one. Gina’s warning did nothing. And quite frankly if she felt she had to warn the comic, maybe she should have reconsidered the whole idea in the first place.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “This was his routine, not his HR approved one. Gina’s warning did nothing.”
      I bet dollars to cheap ass rolls that the “HR approved” conversation was “I understand. I won’t talk about sexual acts and especially won’t use the F word.”
      And, since Gina thinks that this is a generally good idea for a team event, she thinks this is what “work appropriate” means.

      1. Anonymel*

        I disagree and I think that’s a pretty ungenerous characterization of Gina, when the LW gave nothing indicating Gina generally shows poor judgment. I think it’s FAR likelier the comedian said, “Sure. HR friendly,” and then just ignored it because… why bother?

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I don’t think this is about Gina’s judgement. I really don’t.
          I don’t think it’s indicative of her judgement in any other area of professional behavior.
          I think this is a stand alone issue about what Gina thinks comedy is and how she thinks it is appropriate for work. Personally, except for the few individuals who do “workplace comedy” for events like these (rage against office supplies and printers), there is no comedy show that is suitable for a workplace event like this.
          So, I think that she figured good, clean fun for adults just meant no dirty words.

      2. OP*

        The crazy thing is, he DID talk about sex. I forgot to even include that in my letter, but there were plenty of sexual innuendos thrown in there, too.

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      Honestly, telling a self-proclaimed Redneck Comedian to “keep it HR-friendly” is just going to encourage them to be even more uncouth.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, Gina, WTAF?? Surely the name alone should have been the clue to throw this tour into the Deep, Dark Pit of Horrible Event Ideas.

    4. LunaLena*

      “This was his routine, not his HR approved one. Gina’s warning did nothing.”

      This was my first thought too. At most, he *might* have refrained from cussing excessively. I bet there are videos of the guy’s act on Youtube, it might be interesting for the OP to look him up and compare.

    5. Clisby*

      I’m speaking as someone who has never liked standup comedy – from anyone. So you can take this with a grain of salt: I think comedy routines are a bad idea for this type of work event.

      (I admit, my first thought when the OP said comedy bus tour was: “They booked Trae Crowder??” Clearly not.

      1. Pippa K*

        I would think so much better of my employer if they booked Trae Crowder! But that will definitely never happen.

        1. Clisby*

          To be fair, Trae Crowder might have antagonized a good many people, too – I don’t think comedy is the best choice for a work get-together.

          1. Hroethvitnir*

            True! That is who I thought of as redneck not necessarily meaning bigoted (or at least kind of painful stereotypes about themselves that I don’t feel comfortable with as someone not in that group).

      2. ferrina*

        I’m picturing Steven Ho being booked for an event with hospital executives. I would absolutely endorse that.

        Also- Amber Ruffin and her sister doing a routine for HR professionals. That would be utterly epic.

        1. EmmaPoet*

          I would adore being a nurse sitting in on that one and watching the execs cringe.

      3. Anonymel*

        My first thought when I heard Redneck Comedy is Jeff Foxworthy or Bill Engvall. Both very family friendly and super clean comedians. Nate Bargatze is also very family friendly, never cusses, etc… AND does big corporate events so I’d not say that standup is never appropriate for a professional event.

        1. Princess Sparklepony*

          While that might be true, I’m not very familiar with those people except that I have heard the names.

          It’s unlikely the Redneck Comedy BUS Tour is getting the top level talent.

    6. WillowSunstar*

      Agreed, I would avoid using a comedy event for anything remotely work-related these days. It’s just not safe.

    7. Meep*

      +1 on the second line.

      Comedians are mixed bags on a good day. You can literally love the comedian but hate the routine they do that day.

      I don’t care about the name of the show, taking a group of coworkers there who are not fully enmeshed with each other’s sense of humor and only see each other in person twice a year is a HUGE gamble.

    8. Beth*

      For a work event, the word “Redneck” should have been enough to stop Gina in her tracks. Sheesh.

      I remember attending a conference with a stand-up comedian booked for the happy jolly final wrap-up. Two minutes into his routine, I stood up and walked out. Spent the rest of the session reading in the lobby.

      After it was over, a couple of friends of mine found me. I told them how I’d left two minutes in, and they both looked at me with big eyes and said “Oh, god, I wish I had too.” Seems his main schtick was juvenile gross-out stuff running into sexism and cruelty.

      About the only comedian I ever saw do well in a professional environment was an Australian comic who had been booked for a big international event in Seattle. Most of his jokes were making fun of Australia or Microsoft. Both subjects went over well.

    9. el l*

      Yeah, I’d say the objection along the lines of, “Would you want this event cited as an example of ‘creating a hostile environment’ for [black employee]? No? Because they’d be on reasonable ground to do that.”

      And well said on “this was his routine, not his HR approved one.” I know the type, and warning them to be clean is just a red cape in front of a bull.

      In general, a comedy show is NSFW. If it’s actually funny and something you’d want to see, it probably touches on identity or sex. Neither of which you want at work. So unless you want something unfunny or an hour of pure poop jokes, no.

      1. Ansteve*

        Yeah I love comedy but in a corporate environment you don’t have much to work with. If you punch down and make jokes about marginalized groups you risk your clients getting sued. If you punch up to the wealthy elites you just offended the people signing your paycheck.

  3. CubeFarmer*

    Hopefully Gina realized that this was a big “ooops” about two minutes into the outing. But yes, definitely speak up.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*


      I’d feel better about this (as an employee) if the “ooops” had been acknowledged though. Neutrality is tolerance of bad behavior.

      1. CubeFarmer*

        Good point.

        I would be curious to know if Gina has sent out evaluations after other team-building activities. If not, then it’s likely that others have already expressed concern about the contents of the latest one.

        1. OP*

          This WAS the first veal she sent out, but only because it was the first meeting of ours that she organized. She’s new to the team (but not to the company or to the corporate world in general; she’s been here 25 years, so definitely long enough to have known that a redneck comedy show might not be the best choice for a corporate outing).

            1. Princess Sparklepony*

              I was rather liking veal – young, tender, milk fed… not the audience for a redneck comedy show!

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Would have been nice if she had realized her oops when she had to ask for an HR approved routine. If you have to ask, you already have a problem.

  4. Middle Name Danger*

    a lot of comedians hear “HR approved” and just keep the language clean, no cursing or explicit mentions of sex; they don’t think to clean up the content otherwise

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Preach. I just commented exactly this. And if Gina did have a conversation with the comic or the venue rep (no reason to think she didn’t) she was assured that there would be no “vulgar language or descriptive jokes about sex.”

      1. Texas Teacher*

        It’s like when kids want to play some popular music in my class; I tell them it has to be vetted for school and they reply that they’ll bring the version with the bad words bleeped out.
        Nope, the bad words are the least of my concerns!

        1. Dogs01234*

          If they are high schoolers I would ask them flat out. “Even with the bad words bleeped can you tell what it is talking about”. Then when the can’t make eye contact… “nope not appropriate”

    2. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Honestly, the clean language and explict mentions of sex are the least of my worries with something like this, but most people think HR = teachers.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I feel the same way. They were talking apples and oranges.
        The very nature of “Socio-economic group Comedy” is so clearly a NSFW topic. That the venue staff would assume that the potential clients understand and accept that “Socio-economic group Comedy” is about making fun of people of a socio economic group and what they think about people outside their group is not a big leap for people who take a breath and think about it. Of course they would assume the concerns were sex and language, not sexism and racism because that’s what the genre is.

    3. OP*

      The crazy thing is, he DID talk about sex. I forgot to mention it in my original post, but there were lots of sexual innuendos tossed around, in addition to everything else.

  5. Liz the Snackbrarian*

    Of course this had to happen on a bus, where it’s hard to just get up and leave.

      1. Clymene*

        Totally agree. Motion sickness + bad “comedy” means I’d be creating a different sort of spectacle at that activity.

      2. Meep*


        My husband’s family loves to go see “comedies”. I politely tolerate it when invited and unable to get out of it. Throw me on a bus and I would jump out the dang window.

      3. Princess Sparklepony*

        It makes cruise ship comedy look like a fun time…. at least you can leave and go to your cabin.

    1. But maybe not*

      Truly. This, coupled with the very true “comedy is subjective” comment above makes this a terrible, terrible work activity. (Then again, I can’t think of very many activities I’d want to do on a bus where I can’t leave if necessary.)

    2. CheesePlease*

      I had to look up what this was. I assumed it was a group of comedians on a bus tour around the country and the show was at a comedy venue. Google revealed that it’s a bus your of the city led by a comedian. The first one on my results was “R Rated City Tour”. YIKES

      This is so much worse??

      1. EmmaPoet*

        I was reading it the way you were, and realizing this makes it so much worse. At least in the former you could escape without flinging yourself into traffic.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, I’m not sure whether a bus or a boat would be worse in this scenario!

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Depends how fast the bus is moving and whether the boat has life vests aboard.

      2. Rob aka Mediancat*

        A bus. On a boat if you jump out at least you’ll hit water and not asphalt.

        1. Liz the Snackbrarian*

          I think in the boat case from there you have to hope that it’s a short swim to land, or another boat will appear posthaste and fish you out of the water.

        2. RVA Cat*

          Just be sure the boat doesn’t go under a bridge while the Dave Matthews Band tour bus is on it…

    4. e271828*

      I’m genuinely puzzled as to why this exists and who in the world would want to sit on… a bus? Listening to standup? That they may or may not like? With no exit? Who imagines this is a good idea?

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        I really want a like button. No exit is one of the first signs of being in hell.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      From one Petty to another, I upvote you 9000 and award you two interwebs.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            Welcome aboard!
            So happy to meet an new one.
            We are only missing Petty LaBelle.

            1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

              Petty LaBelle had to do her stupid dayjob rather than join in the fun.

  6. Justin*

    I am really surprised! Like, comedy is a real risk even when it’s not that subgenre of “woke mind virus bad” stuff. And OP seems like they haven’t had to worry about this sort of thing before, that’s the surprising part.

    Say something, and anyone else who seemed uncomfortable, maybe talk to them to build something.

    1. Quinalla*

      Yeah, yikes! I too would just not to comedy for a work event unless it was a small group I knew really, really well. Even then, still probably a bad idea. Do something where folks can socialize with some sort of mild distraction (food, drinking, sportsball, light activity, board/card games, etc.)

      Definitely speak up OP and do not hold back! This was a terrible idea and should NOT be repeated. An oops once is forgivable, but yeah should have seen this coming honestly, but anything like this again would make me seriously questions the value anyone at the company places on DEI and I’d be looking for a new job.

      1. What name did I use last time?*

        Quinalla makes the good point that a comedy show (or any other performance) isn’t a social activity. No opportunity for the colleagues to interact with each other.

    2. Myrin*

      Yeah, I don’t wanna say there are no comedians who can pull this off but… I’d err on the side of “no comedy”, I think, just to be sure.

      Late last year, there was a gala in my town technically organised by my employer (the city) but not an employee-only event because everyone could buy tickets. The highly advertised highlight of the evening was supposed to be a very well-known comedian (in my country; people elsewhere probably haven’t ever heard of him) whose shows I’d last seen at least ten years ago, who I felt generally neutral about, and who isn’t known for offensive or edgy acts.

      Well. I read about it in the paper the following day and apparently it flopped completely. His whole act must’ve been about death and illness, which, while probably not inherently inappropriate so much as ill-advised, didn’t fit the event’s lighthearted and relaxed vibe, and he made several digs at our area which apparently went over like a lead balloon (this was especially embarrassing because it had been announced for weeks that this would be his first performance in our area ever; kind of not cool to then go “man, I had to look this place up on a map; I didn’t even realise you guys could pull off events like this one”).

      My best friend at work had to go because of his role and when I said “I hear [comedian’s gig] wasn’t particularly well received?” he replied “Not well received? It was absolutely embarrassing and the most cringey part of the whole evening!”. So, yeah, not a good idea even in a situation like this one, which was only half employer-related.

  7. Chairman of the Bored*

    In addition to all the other reasons this was awful, I expect a lot of the “redneck” content was a cruel caricature of the lifestyles and struggles of the rural poor.

    1. Happily Retired*

      Came here to say this! “Redneck” is often applied to rural Southerners, but really, it gets applied to all country people, whether in Maine or Montana or Mississippi. “Let’s make jokes in a ridiculing accent about our fellow citizens!” And that’s in addition to the racist, sexist, and misogynistic content.

    2. Another Use of the Identify Spell*

      Precisely. There are a number of “country” or “southern” entertainers who are really just good at doing the right accent and giving people what they expect. They make quite a lot of money trivializing and stereotyping the people they claim to understand/represent. There are, however, several liberal redneck comedians who are actually from that background, as well as musicians and other artists who know of what they speak and always punch up.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        I was wondering if that’s what was expected of this comedian. It can play really well to people from those areas who understand the culture. Maybe that’s what Gina was expecting. Maybe he did do that, but to the wrong audience.
        Either way, not advisable for work.

    3. Mango Freak*

      I feel like the only “defense” of Gina is that’s what she THOUGHT it was going to be. The “redneck” comedy that makes it to the mainstream is often that “you know you’re a redneck if” stuff, the kind that’s arguably funny and fine when people are joking about and for their own demographic. But unless this workplace entirely employed people from poor rural white southern backgrounds who enjoy that humor, even the TV-friendly flavor is a terrible idea.

      1. Chairman of the Bored*

        They’re usually not even joking about their own demographic.

        Jeff Foxworthy went to Georgia Tech and worked as a mainframe engineer at IBM; he’s not *actually* a small-town doofus.

  8. Managing While Female*

    Did… did Gina not realize what Redneck Comedy is?? I think a good general rule is to not book something for a work event when you don’t actually understand what it is. Redneck Comedy is based almost solely on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. or just stereotypes about “redneck” culture. It’s like the poster-child of everything HR would want to avoid. Asking the comedian to keep it “HR-appropriate” really just wouldn’t be feasible for this type of comedy.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “oh, I’m making fun of my own people, so it’s ok.”
      No. It doesn’t work like that.

        1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

          Does she still do that? I know she did when she was starting out, but that was decades ago now. I got to see her several years ago and while she got a lot of humor out of her specific parents, that was all I saw along those lines. (And if you’re talking about that tv show, well, she had a lot to say about how little control she had over the show.)

      1. Hroethvitnir*

        Yep. There are comedians who can pull it off IMO, but it’s rare – and even intelligent, witty comics can fall afoul of basically just encouraging racism because of how jokes land to different audiences.

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      What definition of Redneck Comedy are you working off of? I’m thinking Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, etc. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I wouldn’t describe their comedy as any of the hateful stuff.

      1. Lea*

        I think there is probably some crappy stuff in there but there is also plenty of that style of comedy that is not sexist/racist? Like the ron white joke that comes to mind is mostly how he got drunk at a bar and they asked him to leave

        1. anne of mean gables*

          This is absolutely not my flavor of comedy at all (huge Tig Notaro fan here) but the line about how he was drunk in a bar, and they threw him into “the public” gets me every time.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              I mentioned this below, but corporate gigs are a very common thing in standup. Lots of comedians will have work-safe comedy routines. I am also a big Tig fan, but even aside from her, I can think of multiple comedians off the top of my head who could make this work and who probably already have a work-safe set for those kinds of gigs. But if you are not pretty familiar with the comedian, it’s far better to steer clear of hiring one for a work event.

              1. mreasy*

                Many, many comedians would be fine for this. You would need to get familiar with their material, then beforehand explain exactly what you mean by ‘work-safe” – e.g. please don’t use any swears stronger than ‘hell,’ skip any jokes about your sex life, don’t do the one about shoplifting” etc.

                What you can’t do is just sign up for a tour led by a comedian, one who uses a bigoted/dogwhistle word IN THE TITLE of their event, and just ask them vaguely to keep it work safe. I don’t get people defending Gina/the folks who approved this. If I worked at a place who condoned this type of ‘entertainment’ and didn’t apologize PROFUSELY and with an ACTION PLAN showing why this would never happen again & how the entire HR team has taken sensitivity training, I would start looking.

                Good employees will leave if they don’t handle this well. I guess they’re more concerned about not annoying folks who are giggling at bigoted jokes than that, though.

            2. Beth*

              At a big international event in Seattle, many years ago, the (Australian) organizers booked an Australian comedian to perform at the dinner. I thought he was hilarious, and still remember the evening with delight.

              He mostly made fun of Australia (a favorite subject for Australians), and of Microsoft. Seattle loves making fun of Microsoft, so that was a safe choice.

            3. NerdyKris*

              I too was thinking of her specifically when I wrote “feminist joke about sex” still being unacceptable in a work environment.

          1. ScruffyInternHerder*


            But I don’t WANT to be Drunk.In.Pub.LICK. I want to be drunk in PRI.Vitttt.

          2. Dek*

            I’d say of the four of them, Ron White is the one that manages to cross the genre, because his comedy is less “redneck” and more just about him.

            Always did kind of want him and Lewis Black to do a tour together. Partially for the name, and partially because I think their styles were actually kinda similar.

            To this day, my buddy and I still pronounce it “COOp’ns”

        1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

          Both Larry the cable guy and Ron White are a bit too brash for my tastes. I like Foxworthy and Bill Engval the best.

          1. tangerineRose*

            I agree. I like Foxworthy and Bill Engval humor and fine Larry and Ron to be a bit too… raw or edgy for my taste.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Larry the Cable guy and Ron White both can definitely be crass and crude. I think the Drunk in a Bar sketch is the cleanest one I ever heard from Ron White.

      2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Honestly even Jeff Foxworthy, who I find hilarious especially his You MIght be From Michigan IF: routine. But even then, it might not be work appropriate. Again, comedy is so subjective that its just safer to avoid altogether.

      3. Juicebox Hero*

        From the snippets I’ve seen, the modern stuff is a bit more… edgy. They tend to be very pro-a certain former president who’s been featured in the news a lot lately.

      4. Managing While Female*

        The definition is all the folks you mentioned, plus the weird ventriloquist dude. I’m not going to delve into all their comedy routines to try to convince you, but any of them would be a poor choice for a work-sponsored event.

        1. RVA Cat*

          The ventriloquist guy is Jeff Dunham, who adds a truckload of Islamophobia to the rancid redneck mix.

          1. Dek*

            He’s also just…like. Not funny. Like, aside from the bigotry, his routines just…don’t really have jokes in them. It’s just “hey, the puppet said something in a funny voice.”

          2. DJ Abbott*

            When Gabriel Iglesias toured Saudi Arabia, they told him Jeff Dunham was the number one comedian there.
            Fluffy was number two. It’s all in a YouTube clip from his Aloha Fluffy special.

      5. I'm Just here for the cats!!*

        Yeah, I think Jeff Foxworthy sort of started the redneck comedy and although some of it can be a bit, off, none of the stuff I ‘ve seen of his sounds this level. I’m wondering if she thought it was going to be more like his comedy, which is mostly making fun of himself and his family as “rednecks” and other goofy stories. And then this guy is totally different. I really hope Gina just made a bad decision, and has learned her lesson.

      6. A CAD Monkey*

        I have seen Ron White solo. While his solo act wasn’t hate-filled (raunchy, foul, and debauchery filled – absolutely), he DEFINITELY cleaned up his routine for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. In fact, all 4 of the BCCT cleaned up their acts for the tour to some degree.
        Hopefully Gina thought it would be more like that, instead of what they actually got stuck with for 2 hours. (giving Gina the benefit of doubt here).

        1. Sunflower*

          That’s what I’m thinking. I’ve only seen the above mentioned comedians on TV which may be cleaned up because it’s TV. I don’t know what their acts are like in real life.

          Bob Saget (RIP) comes to mind. People brought their children to his act because they thought of him as Danny, the loving dad on Full House. Big mistake.

          Comedians need to be researched when it comes to work events. You don’t want to be associated with something that will look bad on you.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Robin Williams (also RIP) was another great example. People went to see him live expecting Mork or Geenie (who were incredibly funny but family friendly), and his live act was well – very, very different.

          2. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

            In the same vein, years ago I saw watched a routine by Mark Curry aka Hanging with Mr. Cooper that was….NOT Mr. Cooper. It was funny, but I could see how people might’ve been taken aback. Performers are not their characters, folks!

          3. RVA Cat*

            The bus setting reminds me of Saget’s infamous “crack in my butt” routine.

        2. AnonyMouse*

          I went to one of the first runs of BCCT in DC. I’m actually in the post credits where they talked with audience. On the DVD they sold. That just dated me a whole lot. I think I was in college? Back then, I’d say it was more tame than now. Still probably not work appropriate, especially Ron White, but not horrible. Now, I wouldn’t attend and don’t think it’s a work thing. Nate Bargatze would be a good candidate for work appropriate.

          1. Cobol*

            It boggles my mind that Nate Bargatze still does corporates (and hey he’s in Nashville, one of the three cities that this Redneck Tour does business), but I’m guessing his minimum is at least $100,000, and probably out of Gina’s budget.

            1. Princess Sparklepony*

              Exactly. All the comedians that people have mentioned are not doing comedy bus tours even if they get to their comedy tour locations by bus… ;)

      7. Brain the Brian*

        I assume the actual tour company with that name. (A quick Google search should pull it up.) I would have to assume that any comedian still willing to do a “comedy” tour on a bus is… well… probably not the most successful. And perhaps is lacking some of the nuance that their more successful counterparts in the genre use to make sure their material stays in the realm of HR-approved.

        1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

          yeah, I just don’t get the idea of a comedy bus for 2 hours. Like, I could see if it was like a tour of the city and he was pulling jokes about certain areas. Like if they toured NYC and came to Time square “last year’s New Year’s celebration at Times Square was pretty disappointing.
          They really dropped the ball!”

            1. Phony Genius*

              That would get me to head out the emergency exit. I wouldn’t even wait for a red light. (I’ve also considered walking out on an in-flight movie, but I found out you can’t.)

            2. Evan Þ*

              Speaking for myself, I’d love “bus tour of the city with lots of dad jokes”!

          1. Brain the Brian*

            I mean, I don’t really, either. But I’m not the one planning office social outings, so…

        2. OP*

          You would assume correctly. Not only was this guy NSFW and offensive, but he just wasn’t funny. At all.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            Thanks for confirming. Sorry you had to put up with unfunny, offensive jokes at a company event. Ugh.

      8. Aggretsuko*

        My dad was into redneck humor, so I have heard all of the big four (Jeff, Bill Engvall, Ron “Tater Salad” White, and Larry the Cable Guy). Jeff and Bill would not be doing hateful shit, period. However, I bought LTCG and Ron White CD’s one year for my dad when Jeff and Bill hadn’t come out with anything new and they were SOOOOOOOOOOO BAD. I absolutely suspect it’s one of those two who was on this tour saying shit. Larry is Not Funny and told terrible jokes, Ron White had ONE good joke (the “Tater Salad” alias one) and otherwise talked such shit about his in-laws that I reasonably suspect he’s now divorced. I apologized to my dad after buying them, they were so bad.

      9. GammaGirl1908*

        I cannot believe I’m about to say this about Larry the Cable Guy, but one reason those particular four comedians hit it really big is that they are high-level professionals and savvy about their audience and nimble. I’m not going so far to call them excellent comedians, but they have years of experience on a very big stage and have honed their acts to a T and can edit for any audience. That’s part of your gift if you are a really big-name comedian.

        Anybody being hired for a small corporate event coming on a bus is not at that level. This guy probably has one act. He maybe edited out the sex and worst of the swearing, but beyond that he couldn’t be nimble enough to adjust his act to the right level for the audience.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          One-hundred percent correct. I think commenters are envisioning that one of the big-name comedians was doing this gig, when a quick glance at the website for the Redneck Comedy bus tours website would make it abundantly clear that’s not the case. This is like going to the Glasgow Willy Wonka exhibit and expecting Timothee Chalamet or Johnny Depp — nope.

          1. Princess Sparklepony*

            Extra House Points awarded for the Glasgow Willy Wonka exhibit mention.

      10. HB*

        This my vague recollection as well – that it was more on the side of self-deprecating and that Ron White in particular seemed to have a fairly progressive worldview.

        That said, that tour happened what… 10 to 15 years ago? I don’t think I would expect something branded as “redneck comedy” to be on the same level. It would be a pale imitation at best, or something like the OP got at worst. I think Gina’s main error was not searching for video clips first. Even if she assumed that because of the venue everything would be considerably tamer (even without the warning), I would want to know if there was a chance of it actually being funny.

    3. Busy Middle Manager*

      I mean, she probably thought they’d be like Etta May who’s most racy stuff is like “my SIL said she’d bring chocolate cake when we wanted chocolate” in a funnier way

      You can google redneck jokes and you can indeed a long routine without bringing up race or gender once. Most revolve around not having teeth, eating racoons, dropping out of school in 3rd grade. Easily googleable Not sure where this assumption they’re based on race and homophobia is coming from.

      1. Managing While Female*

        “Most revolve around not having teeth, eating racoons, dropping out of school in 3rd grade” all of which fall under the ‘or stereotypes about “redneck” culture’ which I also mentioned. None of the jokes you mentioned would be something I would want at a work-sponsored event.

        1. TigressInTech*

          Crucially, these are still jokes based on (societally negative) stereotypes about a group of people (which the comedian himself may not be a part of, depending on how the company is set up). I also wouldn’t want this at a work-sponsored event.

        2. Busy Middle Manager*

          of course totally agree. I was just clarifying what the genre is, people are lumping other stuff into it here. That’s all I was saying

          I do think a Paula Poundstone or Rita Rudner type would be best, they magically keep churning out neutral family friends jokes

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        You can google redneck jokes and you can indeed a long routine without bringing up race or gender once. Most revolve around not having teeth, eating racoons, dropping out of school in 3rd grade. Easily googleable Not sure where this assumption they’re based on race and homophobia is coming from.
        I know I am looking from abroad, so perhaps I am missing context, but those examples mostly sound pretty classist, which is just as problematic as racism, sexism and homophobia.

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            Yeah, but the audience aren’t, necessarily and a work group laughing at “lol, poor people” is…not very tasteful.

            1. Trout 'Waver*

              You clearly don’t get it and that’s OK. But don’t generalize to everyone.

          2. Hroethvitnir*

            I think we’ve all seen comedians who intelligently weave in-group jokes into their comedy, usually with some acknowledgement of the situations that created those stereotypes – and the far more prevalent version where it just reads as performing self-hatred for money.

            Obviously it’s a spectrum, but being unremittingly bigoted about your own people to a group who typically holds those negative views (perhaps especially if unconscious) isn’t any kind of reclaimation.

    4. Dek*

      The only kinda redneck comedy I could see potentially being work-appropriate is Henry Cho, and I don’t know if that even counts, or if it’s just that he’s got the accent and delivery.

      1. Boof*

        I like Tucker and Dale, but they’re more “hillbilly” which I got to say I think is less loaded than redneck
        Also the main work I know them from are horror comedies and obviously the horror wouldn’t work for a place that isn’t entertainment or Halloween adjacent XP

  9. SirHumphreyAppleby*

    Oof yeah, if I were your coworker I’d be side eyeing all of you that went and appeared to enjoy it, and then reconsidering whether I want to continue to be a part of an org that allows this. Someone needs to admit and acknowledge within the group that this was A BAD THING.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      This needs to be said aloud: not just on an anonymous survey, not privately to the black coworker. LW, it’s very possible this is a situation where the *majority* were uncomfortable but like you no one wanted to be the first to bring it up.

      Someone needs to be the first to publicly say that the “comedy” tour was NOT OKAY. You cared enough to write to Alison about it. Be that person!

      1. Nia*

        The majority felt uncomfortable even though everyone else found the racist, sexual, and misogynistic jokes hilarious?

        1. MsM*

          It’s not always easy to tell the difference between “this is funny” and “did that really just happen?” laughter.

          1. Nia*

            Yes it is, “did that really just happen” laughter involves a lot more nervous chuckling and glancing around at everyone else.

          2. Reality.Bites*

            Also, a joke can be wildly inappropriate for work and deeply offensive – and still be very, very funny. Our response to humour isn’t something we have a lot of conscious control over.

            1. Nia*

              Racist jokes aren’t funny. People who find them funny should probably do some self examination.

      2. SirHumphreyAppleby*

        oh yeah, definitely! I meant someone in leadership needs to acknowledge that this was not okay. Not just LW, and not just in a survey.

    2. Nonn*

      I think in addition to doing the survey/talking to HR/boss, maybe it would be appropriate to tell your black coworker that you regret going, think it was inappropriate for your workplace to have scheduled it in the first place, and you have spoken to HR/boss to say so. Otherwise she will be under the impression that Everyone Else [aka Everyone White/non-Black] is okay with it, right?

      1. Certaintroublemaker*

        This. She absolutely needs to know at least one person is an ally in this.

      2. OP*

        I know, I keep going back and forth on that, mainly because what if that WASN’T the reason she didn’t go and then I make it awkward. Except, of course that’s the reason she didn’t go, right? Like, what black person in their right mind would attend something that’s labeled “redneck comedy”?

        1. MrsThePlague*

          Yup, I would have seen that title and been conveniently busy that day.

          I’m going back and forth on whether or not to say something to her directly, though. Not because it wouldn’t be good to know that someone has your back. Rather, it might make her feel even more singled out and slightly awkward? It can be really uncomfortable when you’re “The Only One,” and then something like this happens and now you’re thinking about all the awkward and exhausting conversations you might have to have with your co-workers (including reassuring them that you don’t think they’re bad people, etc., etc.).

          I think you should definitely say something to HR, though, and be open with others about having said it – that way she knows that someone else is with her (not just The ‘Black Coworker With No Sense of Humour’), and she has the opportunity to say something if she wants to.

          If you have an otherwise friendly relationship with her, it might be nice to check in lightly (“so, the ‘comedy’ tour bus was awful, you didn’t miss anything – I actually brought up with HR that it was pretty inappropriate. Hope you did something fun/relaxing that day instead!”) but otherwise focus on the fact that it was inappropriate generally, and not just inappropriate because she, specifically, might have been in the audience.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Yes, exactly. If you do decide to check in with your black coworker, that’s a great script. They might appreciate the heads-up.

            *Don’t* leave your coworker to do any extra labor in terms of having to take action where you didn’t, or even needing to validate/support you. They’re probably already dealing with a lot of shit you haven’t noticed, if this kind of event passed without major outcry.

          2. OP*

            Yeah, the whole singling her out thing was kind of on my mind, too. Like, I’m sure it’s already exhausting enough to be the only POC on our team. I don’t want be all like, “Oh look at me, Black Co-Worker, I’m such a good ally, right?” or pass off any kind of mental or emotional labor to her at all. I do like your suggested phrasing and if I can figure out a way to bring that up in a non-weird way (I’m SO BAD at saying pre-planned things naturally), I’ll definitely use your script.

  10. Trout 'Waver*

    I would pay good money to see my favorite comedians do a show with this story as the premise.

    1. Rosyglasses*

      Hear Hear! I can imagine Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm, Brooklyn 99 pulling off this as part of a plot line…

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        I’m just imagining the late Gilbert Godfried starting off a routine with “I was hired to do comedy on a bus full of corporate people………”

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I feel like they sort of did in the “Is this country song racist?” sketch.

    2. 1,001 Snails in a Lady Shell*

      This sounds like an It’s Always Sunny or New Girl episode

  11. dontbeadork*

    OMG trapped for two hours on a bus full of inappropriate “humor” sounds like punishment, not a team-building/socializing event for work. I am glad for your coworker of color, who knew (or anticipated) enough to avoid what sounds like a really uncomfortable event.

    1. La Triviata*

      Just imagine if everyone on the trip claimed to have suddenly gotten motion sickness

  12. A Book about Metals*

    Was the comedian actually doing this routine on a bus? That alone sounds terrible regardless of the content

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      I’m confused as well because I’ve never heard of this. A comedian touring the country in a bus and stopping at different venues? A comedian narrating a bus tour, making jokes while pointing out historic landmarks? A comedy show where you just go sit in a bus for the show… for some reason?

    2. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Yeah these seem to becoming more popular. It’s like the party bus type of thing but instead of drinking and bar hoping you just tour the city with a comedian.

      1. Dek*

        I can’t even fathom what the point of adding a bus to that equation is.

        Though in all honesty, a party bus seems like a small hell to me.

    3. OP*

      Yeah, so basically, we drove around the city for a couple hours and the guy pointed out a few sites here and there, but mostly just told bad jokes.

    4. Ally McBeal*

      Completely agree. Many years ago I went to a standup comedy event with 3 of my girlfriends, one of whom is an absolutely stunning redhead. One guy got up on stage, scanned the crowd, saw her immediately and fixated on her for his “routine.” Started saying some really gross stuff and wouldn’t stop even when she and the rest of us told him to shut the f up and leave her alone. We got up and left before his set even ended (at least we’d gotten our tickets free through an industry connection), went out for drinks to try to console our friend. She would’ve felt actively unsafe if she’d been trapped on a bus with him.

  13. Juicebox Hero*

    Good heavens. I hope Gina is a lovely person who just had a brain fart on this one, but it’s a doozy. That anyone would think that was ok for a work group, especially with a black person on the team, is… yikes.

    Please do speak up because I don’t know that I’d trust Gina’s judgement when it comes to scheduling your next event.

    My sister and I used to go on bus trips to NYC with an acquaintance of hers who organized the trips, and we actually stopped going because she insisted on playing the early ’00s incarnation of the Redneck Comedy Tour and various insult comics videos on the ride home at top volume. The sober people cringed the whole way home but no one ever said anything to her about it, although by the end of the day she was too drunk to get the message anyway.

  14. Mostly Managing*

    I’d fill in the survey, but also have a chat with boss/grandboss.
    There’s a non-zero chance that Gina won’t pass truly negative feedback to her boss, and the people above her need to know about this appalling error in judgement. At the very least, any events she is booking in the next few years should be approved by one of them to make sure nothing similar happens again.

    1. Lea*

      Yeah I’d rate the event with zeros to tank the averages and then give the real feedback on the side

    2. MiniComputerNotSkirt*

      A number of years ago, I was at a company where our CEO invited someone to give a talk on the history of our industry that was mandatory for all staff. It was… horrible. The speaker had been a salesman for 40+ years and bragged about how many nonprofits he’d defrauded, how many on his sales team had “gotten with” the model demonstrating how to use a computer in this picture, and how he’d never been held accountable for anything because of his Jew lawyers.

      Afterwards, I spoke out about it with my friends, colleagues and manager. I wrote several emails to HR saying that I didn’t think it had been appropriate for our company and requesting an apology. I never got a response.

      Did I, an entry-level employee, make any difference to how they chose future speakers? Probably not. They later posted the video of the talk on our internal site and I sent the complaints a second time, again to no response. Still, I took a stand on an issue I cared about and tried to make my company a slightly less crappy place.

      1. 1LFTW*

        You stuck up for what’s right, and that’s awesome. I hope you found a better place to work!

    3. ferrina*

      And management needs to put out a blanket statement saying they don’t endorse the problematic material.

      I would absolutely be worried that this routine was a dog whistle and that things would go downhill from here, and I know I’m not the only one of my coworkers who would think that. If management stays quiet, they are tacitly supporting this. Even if they tell Gina not to do it again, an underreaction or no reaction will tell people what to expect if their colleagues start behaving this way.
      The sceptic in me wonders if that might be the point.

  15. A Book about Metals*

    I can see how someone would think Redneck comedy is like a Jeff Foxworthy type which from what I remember is pretty tame. But Gina or someobody needed to dig a little deeper or at least do a cursory google search on the actual comedian

        1. MCMonkeybean*

          I was actually rewatching News Radio recently and I did not remotely even connect it was the same person until my partner mentioned it.

      1. Dahlia*

        Ngl because I never saw his face, it took me a LONG time to connect “Joe Rogan, Fear Factor guy” with “Joe Rogan, horrible radio guy”.

    1. SaskieSaskie*

      Yeah, the key thing about Jeff Foxworthy (or Trae Crowder, from what I’ve seen of his stuff) is that they’re poking fun *at* rednecks, and with themselves clearly as part of that group. They aren’t taking their group norms and using it to beat up other groups of people.

  16. JB (not in Houston)*

    A lot standup comedians do corporate gigs, and many of them have toned-down, work appropriate material for those shows. But there are comedians whose material can’t be made corporate-friendly without being a completely different comedian’s material, and this sounds like one of those comedians. If Gina was at all familiar with his work, it should have been obvious. You should definitely speak up!

    1. EngineeringFun*

      Yeah there is a local New England comedian that we have for a charity event every year. He makes fun of cold weather and clam chowder… stuff local people can relate to. He would be fine for a work event.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I’d also steer away from improvisational entertainment. There’s a horror story where a local science fiction convention hired an improv comedy group for the entertainment, and they got weirdly stuck on a “writers are always committing suicide” “joke” that never got a laugh.

      The special guest at the convention was famed writer Sir Terry Pratchett, just after he’d announced his dementia diagnosis and plans to end his life with dignity.

      1. 1LFTW*

        OH MY GODS. That would have been tasteless and cruel under any circumstances, but in that moment, it could not have been more horribly tone-deaf.

  17. Lorna*

    What the heck did I just read? How does a person with a fully functional brain read the words redneck comedy and NOT come to the conclusion that this is a realllllyy bad idea.
    No matter how fancy the bus interior, you can’t joke away the stench of radical -isms and bigotry.
    Gina better stop acting the maggot and do better going forward.

        1. HonorBox*

          Yes. Before calling names, maybe Google redneck comedy tour bus. There’s a company that does this and they get great reviews. It is a comedic sightseeing tour, if that’s what Gina booked. I read a few of the reviews online and they’re presenting the tour with facts and jokes… it isn’t a standup comedian on a bus. And the reviews I saw ranged from people who took the tours with family reunions, 60th birthday parties, etc. So very family oriented… It seems to me that Gina probably thought she was getting a tour of a city with some jokes mixed in versus a comedian working beyond blue.

            1. metadata minion*

              Ohh, that’s good to know! I also had a “woah, that’s harsh” reaction.

            2. Dek*


              Is this one of those things where y’all make up slang to tell Americans, but it’s not real?

              Because I fell for that once…

          1. MigraineMonth*

            This might be me misunderstanding terms, but I don’t think the comedian was “working blue”, in the traditional sense, which in my understanding means strong language and sexually explicit material.

            The problem is that the comedian was telling sexist and racist jokes, which unfortunately many people consider “clean” and “family-friendly” as long as there are no curse words or *particularly* offensive slurs. (E.g. the n-word and c-word wouldn’t be allowed, but coded words like “thug” or “uppity” probably would be.)

      1. Lorna*

        Apologies, finger fumbled my answer too soon.

        Is it tho? From what I read, I got the feeling Gina knew full well what she was getting for the corporate outing. Specifically when she asked the comedian to tone it down, which would’ve been unnecessary for any ol’ bog standard “family friendly” ( quoting other users and the website) routine. I’m open to change my mind, no worries – but this just reads iffy to me.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Asking a comedian who is going to be entertaining a room (or bus) of adults to keep it tame is pretty common, even if the act is already marked as “family friendly”. Some folks see all adults and think anything goes.

      2. Boof*

        IDK I think redneck is loaded enough that you know it’s not going to be PC – maybe “hillbilly” is the less loaded term for “rural country humor” that isn’t going to try to be edgy?

    1. Percysowner*

      I follow a Trey Crowder, The Liberal Redneck and he is liberal. I would never book him on a Redneck bus tour because, although I think he is very funny, he is very political and even though he supports my liberal politics, nobody should be forced to listen to political humor. Just saying that having Redneck in the name can be something other than racist, sexist comedy.

      Certainly in this case it was offensive and should never have been booked.

  18. Sneaky Squirrel*

    I’m sure it exists, but I can’t think of a stand up comic that doesn’t invoke some kind of stereotyping in their schtick, which should make it a no-go for companies. But that it was called “redneck comedy” should be a red flag in itself because the term “redneck” itself is a derogatory term and eludes to a certain class & culture of a person. Since it sounds like you might not work at a company that does the type of work typically personified in the redneck stereotypes, you might want to point out that it could look like you are looking down upon others from a DEI lens.

    1. cv*

      Despite it being derogatory, a lot of people who are rural-oriented use it as an actual term and/or are reclaiming it for their own use. So a show that calls itself that could be either insulting or in-group-affirming.

        1. Pippa K*

          Yeah, that’s what we call it out here when we face toward the hay field. Now, if you was to face toward town, that’d be civic oriented.

          Sheesh, this comment section today.

  19. CowWhisperer*

    I did see a stand-up comedian turn his act swiftly to something cleaner – and still funny – when the audience wasn’t responding.

    I went to a small Catholic college that valued free will. There was a professional comic one night at a small cafe on campus and about 50 students attended. He started with some situational humor which people appreciated. He switched into some borderline misogynistic jokes about his wife and vaginal size post-childbirth. Those dropped like a rock – a nearly silent audience.

    He seemed to pause a second and went full blast into observational humor that wasn’t punching-down. The audience roared. I laughed so hard I cried.

    What I learned that night is that audience members can change performance norms if they don’t laugh at offensive humor – but white men and women need to lead the way.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      We had a comedian at a corporate holiday party once, and his jokes were a bit too edgy for a work event. Mostly what I remember is how quiet and non-responsive the entire audience was. It was polite endurance until he figured it out and wrapped it up.

  20. Dell*

    I googled “Redneck Comedy Bus Tour” and I can actually see how Gina made this mistake. The website says these are bus tours of the city, hosted by a comedian who will tell you jokes on the tour. It is advertised repeatedly as “family-friendly”, great for kids and your mama, etc. I don’t think Gina thought she was booking a redneck stand-up comic, she thought it was booking a PG tour of the city with some humor on the side.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Yeah, I really hope that this was a really bad comic and that it was somehow misrepresented. I wonder if the OP or others could leave a review or contact the company and explain how bad it was, especially when requested it to be HR appropriate. I have a feeling that the comic saw that and went the opposite way for laughs.

    2. Lorna*

      Hm, I’m sceptical. Why ask the comedian to tone it down, if it’s advertised as family friendly?

      1. OneAngryAvacado*

        To be fair, I think if you were doing any sort of workplace thing with comedy (which isn’t that uncommon, plenty of standard comedians do corporate gigs) it makes sense to let them know at the booking that it’s a corporate thing, even if you don’t think the performance is going to be super offensive. Gina may have thought all she needed to do was flag that to avoid any cussing and the like, she may not have realised more damage control was needed.

      2. Lab Rabbit*

        She didn’t ask him to tone it down. Doing so would imply that she knew what kind of comedian she was dealing with ahead of time.

        Plus, the tour that Dell is referring to is not the one in LW’s letter. Gina did what she should have done when booking any entertainer–remind them to keep it HR appropriate.

        People really want to blame Gina for deliberately doing something inappropriate, but it’s just as likely that she is young/naive/inexperienced/etc and did think this would not be the huge problem that it turned out to be.

        1. OP*

          Gina definitely isn’t young or inexperienced (she’s in her 50s and has been in the corporate world for at least 25 years). She may be a tiny bit naive, but I honestly think part of it was that she just likes this kind of humor. Not specifically misogynistic or racist, but like, the general idea of redneck humor. She’s from the same area where we were meeting, so maybe that type of humor is more popular or common there? I don’t know.

        2. Awkwardness*

          She didn’t ask him to tone it down.

          You don’t know this.
          For me, it would make total sense if she prepped him as you would do for any bigger group you are doing an event with, even if this were only birthday guests or a bachelor party.

          1. Awkwardness*

            The feedback, for me, should focus on why/why not this event did/ did not work as expected (not inclusive to you black co-worker, offensive jokes, no idea how to step in when it was de-railing, somebody at front instead of co-workers interacting and so on).
            I find it not relevant for the feedback if Gina knew about the full extent of the comedy. If OP places too much criticism linked to her person, it is not likely to be received well and be considered for the future.

      3. Jennifer Strange*

        Because some folks will see it’s a bus full of adults and assume that’s a go-ahead to make it raunchier?

      4. Runcible Wintergreen*

        If she didn’t say anything, everyone here would be saying “Why didn’t she mention at any point that it was a corporate event? How was the comedian to know that they should keep it work appropriate?”

        To be clear, there are many ways that this situation was handled poorly, and Gina certainly had some level of responsibility in how it all went down. But criticizing her for telling the comedy company that it was a work event doesn’t really make sense.

    3. HonorBox*

      Given this, I’d say OP’s feedback would be a really helpful thing to have when Gina and bosses provide feedback to the bus tour company. I’m certain that there are some opportunities on the tour for the guides to work in some jokes and funny material, but I have to imagine that someone saying racist, bigoted things isn’t going to fly.

  21. Reality.Bites*

    There was recently a hospital fundraiser in Saskatchewan that booked Rob Schneider. He was removed from the stage by security, but it was a boneheaded move to ever hire him.

    Not sure what the policy is on links here, but if you google “rob schneider regina” you’ll get links to all the news coverage

    1. Bunnyhug Wearer*

      The fact that he was booked at all is just mind-boggling. I can’t believe whoever booked him didn’t do a brief google to see what he stood for? I’m also boggled at him not thinking hey, this is a hospital in the province that founded the public health system. Maybe these people are not the audience for my anti-vaxxer jokes.

      I can totally see someone needing to clear with a comedian just how much riffing they will do on what rhymes with Regina.

      1. It's Suzy now*

        “…what rhymes with Regina.”

        Now *that’s* funny! Source: I lived in Regina for a year.

        1. Bunnyhug Wearer*

          I can’t believe there aren’t more Girl From Regina limericks in the style of the Man from Nantucket (Although the recent failed Tourism Regina campaign shows that some people do see the humour, but not the appropriate contexts for it).

    2. SaskieSaskie*

      Yeah, that was a really fun room to be in if you were a HCW or donor or woman. I gotta be honest with you, and I don’t want this to feel like a slap down on humour generally – as a woman, living in Regina, who has volunteered extensively with DV and related organizations…there’s a LOT of folks (across the gender spectrum, but especially 2SLGBTQ+ and women) who find nothing at all funny about the excuses for Schneider being present (they lost a *lot* of donor support), the clueless “what rhymes with Regina” promo (worse that it got blamed on junior staff) or the attitude these events support or promote. In a province that leads the country in domestic violence, and appears to care very little at the gov’t level, the overall context we’d like folks to have is one where “you know, this really isn’t funny” because very little of it is. Schneider doing his anti-vaxx, anti-woke, misogynist act was a rotten cherry on top of a pretty crappy cake, double if you were a HCW or woman in that audience.

      1. Bunnyhug Wearer*

        It is funny the way we have chosen to pronounce Regina. Like, why did we not go with long EE rather than long I if we wanted to name the city after the queen? The tourism campaign was inappropriate and not at all a place for high school humour. The booking of Rob Schneider was just so incompetent on so many levels. I suspect whoever booked him probably thought ‘wow, a name we recognize in this little ol’ province.” But still, even the shallowest of internet searches should’ve suggested that he was not a good choice for the benefit.

        I am sorry you had to sit through that awfulness. I am glad that he was shut down mid act. I am sorry that some people supported the booking (but not all that surprised given the Moe government and their more Covid less women attitudes).

        1. SaskieSaskie*

          The pronouncing really is a weird one! It’s not like there’s any controversy (that I know of) about the long EE (regime, regina…) though I guess we can be pleased queen vic was on the throne because a city named Rex would be. well. ridiculous. Can you imagine a tag line of The King City? I still think Oskana or Wascana are more appealing overall.

          What’s really upsetting (I mean, aside from the Moe government in its entirety) is how no-one seems to have taken responsibility. The tourism campaign dumped on junior staff – the senior exec all sidestepped, the Mayor and a councillor were on the board and apparently didn’t say anything – it felt like a classic blame-the-interns sort of thing. At least it was the last straw for the CEO, finally! We’ll be paying off the bad decisions there for years. And as far as I know, the Foundation that booked RS has apologized but still haven’t said anything about how the booking happened, which I think is owed to their donors. As is said so often, Disappointing but not Surprising; and I guess fitting in well with things we cringe at here on AAM!

          1. Overthinking it*

            It’s a Latin word. I assume that’s the way Latin scholars pronounce it

            1. SaskieSaskie*

              It is indeed Latin, and it is pronounced with the long EE vowel. Not the shorter I sound that’s used by the city. That’s why we noted it was weird.

  22. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

    Just a really quick Google search indicates that this is supposed to be a sightseeing tour, presented in a humorous manner. I can’t imagine thinking it was appropriate, but given the areas I saw the tours in, it seems like it’d fall under “local color” and going from there. This goes to show how wildly different ideas people have for “work appropriate.”

    Former work had a conference at Stone Mountain and being from the North, it was an Experience (TM). Our parent company was from the area, so I’m not sure they thought through how people outside of the South would take to being shown a Confederate monument, then having a reception in a Confederate museum. Where most of the employees were people of color. No one said anything explicitly racist in a modern context, but the whole weekend was yikes on bikes. I think that was the first time they had it there and I think it was the last.

    1. RC*

      So what I’m hearing is, the Stone Mountain episode of 30 Rock maybe isn’t as eyerollingly cartoonish as I thought it was?

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        I’ve never seen the episode! But I was perturbed enough by the place to not only express my displeasure to my company, but also to another company that partnered with Stone Mountain to run their attractions* (snowtubing in front of a Confederate monument is a bit much?) that also owns attractions in my own area. Then I found out about one of the family members testifying in court on behalf of a pedophile, so…there’s a whole rabbit hole there.

        *Apparently that partnership ended in 2022. I went to the conference in 2019, before George Floyd and Covid.

    2. Potato Potato*

      Oh no. A lot of people have normalized Stone Mountain because, like, it’s a whole freaking mountain that’s been turned into a racist monument- it’s hard to change. (Whether we’re trying hard enough to change it is a different question.) But this is why you’ve gotta have POC in your planning and leadership teams

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        There were VERY few POC at that particular company. I felt so badly for them because, especially at that event, it was very obvious that no one took that into account. On the flip side, I felt even worse for the people who worked the event and at the attractions at Stone Mountain- the majority of them were POC and I can’t imagine how they must have felt working in the literal shadow of such racism. The optics of a majority white company having a corporate event at a Confederate monument and being served by majority POC? Yeah, it wasn’t great.

        That was when I made a mental note to myself to put “more diverse work force” into my list of requirements at my next job and thankfully, that panned out, though I’m working on getting more POC in leadership and women in the trade part of the business. It’s slow going, but I definitely think my current company is more up to it than my previous one.

  23. RagingADHD*

    I have worked with many different types of people, and many mature, ethical people with strong backbones and no hesitancy to stand up for what’s right. I’ve even done stage work and been heckled!

    But I still can’t think of anyone I’ve ever known, in or outside of work, who would be willing to stand up in the middle of a bus tour and stop the show. Certainly not an admin, who usually has the least amount of formal authority and standing in the office. I think that’s an unfair expectation to put on anyone but the most senior leaders.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      especially if some people were laughing, or seemed to enjoy themselves.

    2. mreasy*

      If HR was onsite at any level it was their responsibility to keep their colleagues from being subjected to bigotry. If anyone in management was there at any level, it was their responsibility to keep their & other reports from being subjected to bigotry. Every person who was involved in booking and approving this is culpable. What happens the next time your single Black colleague has an HR complaint? Why would they think that the team who booked and supported this bigoted “Comedy” would be on their side? I would be surprised if they aren’t looking for a new job.

  24. ChattyDelle*

    in a weak defense of Gina, as an administrative assistant. she may not have been at the event & may not have been in the bus (2 hrs of comedy stuck on a bus sounds like one of the circles of hell from Dante). Which makes the feedback all the more important. Higher ups and Gina all need to know how bad and divisive this was.

    1. mreasy*

      It has redneck in the name! I truly do not see how that got past a single level of HR let alone everyone.

      1. Overthinking it*

        “Redneck” down NOT mean “bigoted and offensive” (it has to do with agricultural labor – nothing wrong with that!). And seriously, I think assuming the comedy IS going to be ignorant/bigoted/offensive. . . is just . . . well, what’s that they say about pointing a finger at someone leaves four fingers back at you?

  25. Kendall^2*

    The fact that the one Black person did not attend is also telling; they obviously were not interested in this (rightfully so!), and since they usually attended the social events, it’s really clear that this would not be OK.

    Bad choice, Gina.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      Eh. I wouldn’t read too much into that part. Unless that coworker makes their reasons known, I’d be hesitant to make them the voice of all black people. That’s a lot of pressure.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yeah, say this was really bad based on what happened, not on who didn’t go. I will say that I’m glad for the Black coworker’s sake that she didn’t attend, whether she realized what was about to go down or just didn’t want to be trapped on a bus with a comedian. I cannot imagine how that would have felt being in that bus while all this went on. Yikes.

    2. Observer*

      The fact that the one Black person did not attend is also telling;


      This is a real clue that there was enough information about the act that it should have not been booked.

      LW, please do speak up. And you might want to point out that if management cares *at all* about having some diversity on staff (which is a good thing in a healthcare context!) having events that the “one black person on the team” (which is already a yellow flag) feels like they can’t attend is already a bad thing, even if the event didn’t turn out to be a flaming hot mess.

  26. VermiciousKnid*

    This reminds me of a very funny incident from a work trip several years ago. I was with a group of business journalists attending a large corporate event in Las Vegas. The company hosting the event took the journalists out for dinner and a show. The show was NOT appropriate at all. Very risque. More than a little nudity. The group was chill and no one was offended, but the corporate PR person who took us out was MORTIFIED. Like, I spent the entire show watching him because the look of horror on his face was evident.

    After the show he asked me what I thought. I said, “There was a little more implied bestiality than I was expecting for a work outing.”

    He responds, “Please don’t tell anyone I took you to this show.”

    Most of the journalists on that trip have moved onto other roles, but whenever we connect, this is the first thing that gets brought up.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      “There was a little more implied bestiality than I was expecting for a work outing” is comedy gold.

      And here I thought it was slightly bad having someone put on a Motown Spotify at the beginning of a work training and “Sexual Healing” came on…

    2. RVA Cat*

      I’m morbidly curious what show this was…?

      But I’m mentally filling in HBO’s Contractually Obligated Brothel Scene from last night’s House of the Dragon. (At least it was plot-relevant this time.)

      1. VermiciousKnid*

        Absinthe. I just checked out their website to see if the show was still running. It is and based on their marketing I cannot believe this is what was chosen! LOL

  27. Busy Middle Manager*

    I feel like the real questions are getting lost in the attempt to label all comedy as inappropriate and bad.

    “Why these events” is what sticks out to me. This is part of why I don’t love WFH. Every time someone decides to come into the office, we can’t just act normal. It has to be a big thing. A lunch, multiple high level meetings, drinks, etc.

    I am not anti-social and I like my coworkers. However, having to put on a big production every time I see my coworkers gets old quick. We’re going into year four of this. It’s not super exciting to see you, I see you all the time on teams! I sometimes think society is
    overcompensating for the supposed lack of community cohesion by planning too many events

    I’d much rather have normal work days where we tackle concrete issues and go out to coffee or lunch IF WE WANT when we want like precovid.

    1. Lab Rabbit*

      I don’t know how you started at “this really awful thing happened at a work social event” to “WFH should be abolished” but….okay? It seems like you just don’t like the way your company handles things. Maybe it’s time to look for a new job? No need to bash those of us who do WFH 90% of the time and don’t make a bit deal out of it when we just go in, do what we need to do, and get out.

      1. Busy Middle Manager*

        doing big eyes at how aggressive this comment is compared to what I wrote. It’s a society trend, not my job, so just switching jobs doesn’t solve the issue. Also you don’t just get a new job these days, everyone is filling out 500 applications for a year to get one interview for any job paying over $80K even though that’s not enough to live here

        Also not sure where the “bashing” was

        1. Reebee*

          Same here, Busy Middle Manager. That was an entirely uncharitable and uncalled for response to your original comment (with which I agree, btw).

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      I don’t think anybody suggested that all comedy is inappropriate and bad. However, comedy is usually pretty subjective. What I find funny, you might not and vice versa. And while there is no reason at all why humour should involve insulting anybody, there are a number of comedians who use that.

      So…comedy probably isn’t a great choice for a work outing. At best, you’re likely to get something that will have half the audience thinking “um, how is this funny? I don’t get it.” At worst, it’s going to offend somebody. Heck, Waiting for Godot and The Importance of Being Ernest are both considered brilliant comedy; I don’t get either of them in the least.

      And the specific event chosen most emphatically was inappropriate and bad. To be honest, those words sound like a massive understatement and like “shocking and unacceptable” would be more appropriate. (I’m not criticising your word choice here; I know you were speaking about comedy at work in general rather than playing down this specific example.)

    3. metadata minion*

      I don’t think that all comedy is inappropriate, but I do think that the vast majority of comedy is inappropriate *for a work event*.

      Plenty of people like work social events when done well, and it sounds like that includes the LW for previous events at their workplace.

    4. OP*

      I do see your point there, although for our team, we DO genuinely love seeing each other. I got super lucky in that our entire team gets along super well. I personally would happily hang out with all of them outside of work if we lived in the same state (and I say that as a staunch introvert who generally doesn’t feel like I need any more friends, haha). The couple days we come together each year are usually both productive and a lot of fun, and we have truly never experienced anything even close to this before.

  28. Ginger Cat Lady*

    Gina knew exactly what was going to happen when she hired someone for “redneck comedy”. Gina made a token CYA request she knew would not work. Gina needs to be held responsible.

    1. A Book about Metals*

      You seem to be giving Gina more malicious intentions than I might, but we don’t know either way of course.

      How would you hold her responsible here, other than maybe having someone else schedule these things going forward?

    2. HonorBox*

      I’m not so sure. First, how would you hold her responsible?

      Also, we have NO idea that Gina knew what would happen. As I noted in my comment below, it could be that Gina thought like I did when I first read the headline… redneck comedy = Foxworthy’s TV appearances. She made a request to keep it HR friendly. We don’t know that it was a token CYA request. We don’t know Gina. We don’t know how the comedy bus represents itself online. We can’t assume anything.

      Was it a bad situation? Sure thing. But how would anyone be able to surmise that Gina did it in bad faith?

        1. Czhorat*

          He also has a definite political position, which can be an issue for those who don’t share it.

          That’s an issue with comedy as a genre; lots of comedy has a point of view, and unless you REALLY know your audience you can end up offending – or at least annoying – some of it.

  29. FG*

    Just so we’re clear … “Redneck Comedy Tour” is a specific series of shows by national comedians who would definitely be able to do a G-rated show – & whose comedy is generally clean and enlightened anyway. Son among other things, this guy in a bus is ripping off what’s probably a copyrighted / trademarked term.

    Second, “redneck” is not by definition racist, etc. nor exclusively Southern. There’s a huge overlap on the Venn diagram for sure, but as Jeff Foxworthy says, redneck means simply a “glorious lack of sophistication.”

    Just be sure that when you jump to conclusions about something called Redneck Comedy that that horse you’re riding isn’t too high.

    Yes this was a disaster in all ways outlined, but don’t lay the blame at the word “redneck.”

    1. Helen*

      I agree. Most people do not use the term “redneck” correctly. Most of the time they mean trashy, bigots but confuse the two groups.

    2. linger*

      There’s also a huge range of possible takes on a given comedy topic.
      Is the comedian expressing their genuinely-held views?
      Or is the comedian (or writer) presenting an exaggerated persona who we’re intended to laugh at, not through endorsement, but because the views expressed are self-evidently illogical or unreasoned?
      The latter is acceptable on the face of it, but can still backfire: cf. Archie Bunker’s racism, where the writer was horrified to find audiences agreeing with the character’s expressed position. And if it’s not obvious in advance which end of the scale an act occupies, definitely safer not to make that corporate booking.

  30. Why why why*

    Why do managers, execs, HR people, etc. think that “social outings” are a good think to do but do not make any effort to do them well? I recently wrote a long email to my boss about a “social event” that was very poorly organized and ableist. I can think of few activities worse than a Redneck Comedy Bus Tour for both team building and inclusivity.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      LW’s team has always enjoyed the group outings up until now. Hopefully this will be a one-off.

  31. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    100% inclde your feedback on the form, but please, please, please provide feedback to your boss, grandboss, etc. outside of the form as well. Chances are they may never see the results if Gina just uses them to help her in future planning.

  32. HonorBox*

    I know of comedians who do “corporate gigs” from time to time, and they pare down their routine to jokes that are more appropriate in a work setting. There are probably some boundaries pushed, but good comedians aren’t going to push too far. I’d guess this particular comedy group isn’t doing a bunch of corporate gigs, hence the inability to remove the jokes that are in very poor taste.

    OP, I’d say something. Even those who weren’t looking on in horror were probably uncomfortable.

    Now, I’d also say that when you say something, I wouldn’t go too far in criticizing Gina. I have to imagine that she went in thinking Redneck Comedy = Jeff Foxworthy on Letterman kind of comedy. She asked them to keep it HR appropriate. If this is a one-time thing where you don’t have a list of other errors in judgement, I’d hate for her to get into trouble for something that was presumably out of her control, and for something she tried to control for.

    1. mreasy*

      I truly can’t disagree more. This was a beyond egregious failure in judgment. At minimum, HR should google any comedian or entertainer they are planning to hire for a work event. There is no reality in which Gina didn’t know what they were getting into. Jeff Foxworthy’s tamest material is still completely unacceptable! Even if he was “just” mocking the white working class / trailer residents / etc. that the term “redneck” usually refers to, that is STILL not okay, whether or not he identifies as one.

      1. Nomic*

        Look at their website. This isn’t “an entertainer”, this is a bus tour of city sights, with the tour guy giving a patter of tour information and jokes in a terribly hillbilly accent. You can complain about the entire idea (and I guess you are at that :), but there isn’t a way to vet any particular driver/tour guide combo.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I think Gina might have thought it would be very different. It’s a lucky person who’s never gone to a movie or live performance and saw something very different than what they thought they would.

          (Suddenly flashed to when T’ealc got tickets to what he was told was “The Virginia Monologues” in ST: SG-1.)

          1. RagingADHD*

            Lemme tell ya, what I got when I sat down with my 80 year old father in law to watch Wind River was not the generic “murder mystery” we were expecting from the blurb.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Still mad about a book I read from a list in high school for a project that I thought would be a ghost story. Turned out the haunting was by past memories, emotions, etc.

              It wasn’t a bad book, just more to the taste of an adult woman than a young teen with a taste for supernatural fiction. (My mom would’ve liked it.)

  33. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

    Personally I don’t mind raunchy comedy. I love Matt Rife. But I just can’t see this as an appropriate choice for a work event. Jeff Ross or Jim Gaffigan, maybe. My husband and I did go to see Jeff Foxworthy years ago and had a great time but comedy is so subjective I just think it’s a poor choice for a work event.

  34. toolegittoresign*

    Oof. This reminds me of the time I was working for a state agency and they hired an “inspirational comedian and juggler” for our all-hands meeting. This job was as corporate as you could get. Men had to wear a jacket and tie every day — formal. This guy starts juggling, joking, and giving an inspirational talk about creativity… then out of nowhere says that he’s Jewish and proceeds to pepper jokes about Jews into his talk. The room went so cold and one of our Jewish coworkers got up and stormed out. Our HR manager who had been one of the people to hire this guy runs up (looking horrified), whispers something to him and then the performance continued with NO further jokes. It was so awkward and the guy finally finishes, we had our catered lunch and then all left as usual. The following work day an email was sent out agency-wide first thing apologizing for the content of the performance and saying none of that content was mentioned on his site, in the sample videos he shared or by any of the references he provided. To this day, I have no idea what possessed this guy to think any of this was even remotely appropriate.

    1. Sam*

      “To this day, I have no idea what possessed this guy to think any of this was even remotely appropriate.” Probably the fact none of that was on his website….

  35. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    I’m only sorry that this wasn’t one of those pedal around the city streets tours so I could comment, “yikes on bikes!” or in a repurposed 18 wheeler for “wtf on a truck”?

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Or you roll with it and realize we are your people.
          I’m more annoyed at myself that I didn’t think of it!

    1. OP*

      This little thread right here is my favorite. I’m now picturing my team on one of those pedal tours and it’s equal parts horrifying and hilarious.

  36. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    If we all want to get together and go on our own, sure. But if the company paid for this, then that’s a big old no on appropriateness. The fact that the word Redneck is in it for one (no shade, I got plenty of ’em in my family and probably am one on occasion after half a beer) it’s not a word that lands well. But more than that, the fact that the one person of color abstained from the event. That’s where the bells in my head started going off. Unfortunate that that alone wasn’t a tip off that maybe this wouldn’t be “something for the group.”

    And warn a comedian all you want, something tells me a dude on a bus that was privately hired for however many hours only has so much material.

    You know, aquarium tours, and concerts, and I don’t know… a sit down or buffet barbecue is fun too.


    1. Kyrielle*

      Or just book a bus tour of the city showing off the sites without any accompanying comedian act. More boring? Yup. Thankfully.

  37. Nomic*

    I went online and looked at the website, and just from looking I would not have assumed a lot of problems. Nothing leaps out as “this is going to be offensive”. I wouldn’t have booked it, but it looks similar to other themed bus tours of various cities.

  38. SusieQQ*

    Anything with the word “Redneck” in it is already not HR-appropriate. Gina showed bad judgment here.

  39. LondonLady*

    We had a similar issue on a company outing a few years ago, a dinner with after dinner speaker. The speaker was so offensive that several colleagues excused themselves and went to the bar. Our most senior manager present complained to the venue manager on the night and in writing afterwards. I believe we did get some kind of apology and refund, but even if we had not, it’s still important that venues hear that this kind of content is no longer acceptable.

  40. 1 Non Blonde*

    Not me, thinking a Redneck Comedy Tour was taking a bus around backwoods areas and laughing at people who live differently than they do … kinda glad I was wrong. But only kinda.

  41. Cobol*

    I’m a big fan of comedy. Most comedians do corporate gigs, so for those saying you should never hire a comedian for a corporate outing, you may be right, but know it is incredibly common. Comedians tend to be people who didn’t go into the corporate world, so they don’t really completely understand what is acceptable.

    I think criticism of Gina is way off base. It’s hard to keep coming up with different things for groups to do, and in general “comedian” is a pretty standard option. I don’t think the term redneck is considered derogatory by most, nor a synonym for bigot. It’s definitely something I would stay away from, but not something that should be held against her in my opinion.

    1. Runcible Wintergreen*

      I agree with you – I’ve been to a corporate comedy event, and it was…. fine. The comedian told jokes about himself being short, his kids, silly “life” stuff like eating leftovers and doing laundry, nothing super funny but it was perfectly appropriate and it was better than other activities I’ve had to take part in.

      Considering all the other limitations/concerns that can come up, comedian seems like an okay choice. It’s not physical, isn’t competitive, doesn’t involve food or alcohol… as long as their content is appropriate, I can see why someone would pick a comedian for this kind of activity.

      1. Cobol*

        I was at one corporate event with a comedian, who was almost painfully not funny. Nothing offensive, but not good.

        In this case it seemed like people were traveling in, so Gina had to come up with multiple activities. I’m thinking a city tour with a funny guide seemed like a great timewaster.

        1. Dahlia*

          Yeah, bus tours with a funny guide are not a new idea. People take them in Hollywood or other historic places, or even go on ones for ghosts/haunted places. Heck, isn’t that half the draw of Jungle Cruise, the funny tour guide?

  42. Rg*

    Someone in charge should have stopped it. Something similar happened where I work- not HR inappropriate, just audience inappropriate. We serve lunch for senior citizens and it was the holidays and they hired a singer for entertainment. The guy started singing Christmas songs. Not Rudolph, Jingle Bells kind of Christmas songs- Christian songs. This was in a Jewish agency. Obviously Jewish, as in Jewish is part of the business name. Around the second song, the department director stopped him and told him to find some more neutral songs, as what he was singing was not appropriate.

    1. StillChristian*

      Just a note that all Christmas songs are Christian and none are appropriate for a primarily Jewush audience. Even the so-called fun ones. Even if some Jews enjoy them – if they opt in that’s totally fine, but they do so knowing they’re listening to Christmas songs about a religion and practices they do not believe in.

      Signed, a Jew subjected to this attitude every single year

  43. ReallyBadPerson*

    I must be one brick short of a wall, because when I read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be about a busload of people driving out into the country looking for rednecks to mock, but what you described is just as bad.

  44. Coin_Operated*

    As someone who loves standup and cannot stand corporate culture, if I were a comedian and some corporate person told me to keep MY show HR-appropriate, I’d make it even worse just out of spite.

    1. Roland*

      I mean, don’t take private show bookings if you don’t agree to their proposed terms, it’s pretty easy.

        1. JSPA*

          “Edgy” is for clubs or open mic standup or private parties who get to choose a specific comic. A tour bus catering to families and corporate events, where people take pot luck on the comedian, is not the place to hone a patently-offensive-to-most routine. And “I go where I’m not wanted, to hypothetically stick it to The Man, by kicking down at the people with the least power, because [waves hands about how exactly that might work]”? Yeah, you’re not exactly executing a scalpel-like thrust to the heart of corporate culture, by doing that.

  45. dustycrown*

    I spent the longest nine months of my life teaching at a state-funded community college where I was required to go to a “professional development” event. After a day’s worth of seminars where they took attendance (!), the mandatory after-dinner entertainment was an impersonator playing a former president who was not from the same party as the head of the college. It was disrespectful, NSFW and assumed that we were all on the same political page, which I very much was not. (All paid for with taxpayer dollars, which was even more repulsive than the “comedy.”) After that, we sat through a mandatory two-hour awards presentation in which ZERO awards were presented to anyone female or any person of color. This was not even close to the worst thing about the organization’s culture. I worked out my contract and (thankfully) got the hell out of there.

  46. Donkey Hotey*

    An I the only one who started a “You might be having a problem with HR” list using Jeff Foxworthy’s accent?

  47. Overthinking it*

    Sure hate to see “Redneck” used to mean “I intend to display offensive prejudices and have given you fair warning! “Redneck” refers to white people who got their necks sunburned doing hard, outdoor, physical labor, usually in an agricultural setting. These included not only sharecroppers, but small farmers too poor to use hired labor, and those who COULD hire labor, but preferred to participate hands-on. While the term is often a slur, the cause of the redness was honorable. Labeling nasty attitudes “redneck” overlooks the fact that while “Rednecks” tended toward less education, they still ran the gamut in terms of intelligence and attitudes.

    1. sarah*

      You’re talking about the origin of the term (and even speaking past tense). We’re taking about the term as it’s in use today.

      1. Florence Reece*

        How is the term used today, then? Because I’m pretty sure it’s still a classist term thrown at a pretty specific group of poor people, and adopted by those people in defense. Much the same as how I call myself and my pals queer, but would still understand the intended offense if a homophobic person used the term.

        In fact, “redneck” has been adopted several times — the original adoption by the people being demeaned was to signal their pro-union, pro-labor, anti-capitalist stance in the early 20th century. But nah, it’s fine! We can say they’re all universally bigots who aren’t reclaiming a reactionary slur because, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

        1. Llama Identity Thief*

          Source: Grew up in Piedmont North Carolina, good friends with OG “Redneck” families in the pro-union tradition through fiddling conventions.

          You’re missing the proportions. It’s used 20% as a classist attack on poor white (mostly-)conservatives, and 80% as people self-identifying as “I intend to display offensive prejudices and have given you fair warning!” It has been less a defensive adoption and more an offensive one, a way for self-described “rednecks” of today to go “you’re right, I AM a bigot! And that’s a good thing!” It’s to the point where the OG “Redneck” families are now running away from the word, not because of the people bashing the poor whites but because of the people they now see proudly saying they’re “rednecks” as a code word for “southern conservatives” as a code word for bigots, and wanting nothing to do with them.

  48. CandyFloss*

    OP, the fact that you didn’t speak up in the moment, or immediately after the event ended is disheartening. And now you’re debating about whether or not to speak up in a survey? Where is the courage of your convictions? Your black coworker did not attend because she could tell it was going to be exactly what it was going to be. You knew exactly what it was going to be from the title and you had misgivings and you went anyway. You did the wrong thing. Nobody had your coworker’s back and that sucks.
    In addition to obviously filling out the survey and saying it was incredibly offensive, you should be going to HR and letting them know what happened. It’s horrifying to me that nobody has spoken up yet. I’m actually pretty angry reading your post because you have the right instincts and you know right from wrong, but you didn’t do anything about it and we know what happens when good people do nothing.

Comments are closed.