Punch Up, Punch Sideways, but NEVER Punch Down!

Punching Up

Punching Up is making jokes at the expense of someone who is of higher power, class, or privilege. It is also called “speaking truth to power,” which is an expression for confronting authority figures, oppression, and injustices.

Punching Sideways

Punching Sideways is making jokes at the expense of yourself and your own direct experiences and birthright.

Punching Down

Punching Down is making jokes at the expense of people from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities based on age, disability, gender, marriage status, size, veteran status, pregnancy and maternity, race/ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. Punching down is insulting, offensive, and often bigoted. Punching down could mute underrepresented voices in comedy and reject inclusivity. Racist jokes, sexist jokes, gay jokes, rape jokes, ableist jokes, ageist jokes, are all examples of punching down. They are all at the expense of marginalized groups. Targeting marginalized groups continues to abuse the already abused.

Always punch up. Never punch down.

Write What You Know

Write and perform your stories and experiences. You should write sketches or stand-up about things that you are in the position to write. It is best to not write on behalf of someone else, especially if the person is from a marginalized group, as you do not have ownership of that experience. For example, if you are a cis person, don’t write on behalf of a trans person’s experience. If you are a white person, don’t write on behalf of a POC’s experience. Writing about an experience that is not yours is unintentionally punching down.

Per our code of conduct, the Dallas Comedy Club Training Center’s policy is to always Punch Up or Sideways but NEVER Punch Down. If you have questions about whether your material meets these criteria ask a member of our faculty.

If you have concerns about this policy, reach out to our Director of Education or file an incident report if you prefer to stay anonymous.