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'Comic' Relief?

November 28, 1987

Lawrence Christon's report on this year's Comic Relief show failed to mention some of the disturbingly racist and sexist elements in the show ("Comic Relief: An HBO Tradition," Nov. 16).

Paul Rodriguez told several "jokes" dealing with Vietnamese, Filipinos and Japanese such as something like: "Why don't we have any Asian homeless? Their eyes turn round when they get hungry."

While ethnic "jokes" of all kinds abounded, none was so mean, unflattering and prevalent as those directed against Asians. With the exception of one member of the chorus, Asians were significantly absent from the Comic Relief stage.

Comic Relief could not make up its mind on violence against women, presenting some very mixed messages. Shelley Long gave an impassioned plea for help for homeless women, emphasizing how their plight makes them frequent victims of rape and how many have been victims of violent husbands.

A short time later, a clip from "The Honeymooners" ended with Ralph raising his fist to his wife Alice as if to strike her. This was shown as one of a series of clips from "funny" moments of TV and film. Wife abuse! Ha, ha.

When Steve Allen came on, he "joked" about rape: "Look, there's a woman being raped over there right now!" Maybe he missed Shelley Long's speech?

Humor on behalf of a worthy cause does not justify racism or violence against women. Comic Relief, clean up your act!

JAN BARDSLEY

Los Angeles

Please keep letters brief and include full name, address and phone number. Mail to Calendar Letters, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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