I was really looking forward to this show. But a few minutes into it, I walked out. We were on a cruise to Alaska a few years ago with my extended family. On these cruise ships they have a theater for live shows. The first 2 shows were musicals. Our kids were 14, 10 and 6 at the time. They kind of liked the shows. But then the cruise director announced that there would be a ventriloquist at the next evening’s show. He would bring his friend Matilda who was actually a puppet. A ventriloquist speaks for the puppet disguising his or her voice to make it seem like the person and puppet are talking.
So all day, I promoted this evening show especially to the younger kids. “Tonight, there’s going to be a puppet.” We got to the show early and sat 2 rows from the front. We were set for an evening of fun and laughs. The male ventriloquist came out with his female puppet, Matilda. Everyone anticipated a half hour of laughs. He started his act. A couple of his early jokes were funny. But then he had the puppet tell jokes that were on the edge racially. The puppet impersonated people in a way that mocked ethnic groups. I thought that was inappropriate especially for a ship staffed with a multi ethnic crew. All of our family sat paralyzed wondering if this could get worse.
It did. The jokes turned crude. Here I am with my kids in the second row from the front. They didn’t get some of the crude jokes but they heard the rest of the audience laughing a lot. It got worse and I had a decision to make. We’re at the front after all. If we get up to leave, hundreds of people will see us. But could I just sit there passively approving of what this actor said? Finally, it was enough. Despite the fact that everyone in the theater would see us, we got up and took the kids out. It was a little intimidating for about 30 seconds. But it was a great relief for the rest of the evening. I didn’t want them to hear any more of those words or have to explain the jokes to them.