‘Fat Johnny Depp’? Body Shaming Is A ‘Catastrophe’ But What About Humor? [Opinion]

“Fat Johnny Depp” was a term used in Catastrophe, a British Comedy television series about an Irish Girl and an American Guy’s life together in London. The show is edgy but completely hilarious.

Catastrophe has gained international attention, and Americans too love Catastrophe. In the most recent episode, Rob seeks to uncover Sharon’s cyber infidelity by searching her browser history. His discoveries included “Fat Johnny Depp,” according to NME who quote the character Rob in the show.

“It’s primarily black guys and fat Johnny Depps. I can’t compete with that.”

“Fat Johnny Depp” was not used on Catastrophe in a context that indicated Johnny Depp is fat, but rather that a lot of guys look like Johnny only heavier. Either way, fat jokes are one of the few remaining avenues to dark humor, but is it OK?

Is Catastrophe skating on thin ice? Many remember how Andrew Dice Clay suddenly disappeared for many years after offending women with his very non-politically correct stand-up comedy. For his fans though this was a tragic loss. Read more about Andrew Dice Clay’s fall from grace on the Inquisitr.

“Fat Johnny Depp” though is hardly comparable to Dice Clay’s frank and matter of fact way of talking about sex, women, gays and other various Politically Incorrect banter that would make Bill Maher blush to 50 shades of red, and then 50 shades darker.

Catastrophe’s mention of fat was not especially offensive, but it stirred a lot of curiosity. The phrase inspired millions of viewers to Google “Fat Johnny Depp” according to NME. What they found was a bit offensive from a Johnny Depp fan’s perspective anyway.

A “fat Johnny Depp” Google search inspired by Catastrophe turns up some articles from late 2015 that were rather unkind to the handsome hunk who apparently had a bit of a lapse in his usually impeccable physical appearance. The New York Post was quick to criticize weight gain that could have been motivated by a role he was playing.

“[Johnny Depp’s] face, chiseled just a few months ago, had swelled into a puffy oval, and the rest of his body looked as if it had gotten just as round. His hair appeared greasier than usual, and topping off his look, one of his teeth was red for some mysterious reason. A stain? A stray piece of cranberry? Some sort of pirate thing? We have no idea.”

Johnny Depp AKA Jack Sparrow and Hollywood Vampires member

Catastrophe was hardly going there with their joke about “fat Johnny Depp” which described some other guy who happened to resemble Depp while being stouter. Still fat has become one of the few remaining slurs that people can throw around without hitting that politically correct wall. Is that fair?

“Fat Johnny Depp” in Catastrophe’s narrative was not referring to that time a couple of years ago that Johnny Depp shamefully let himself go, after Marrying Amber Heard. Still, that was one of the things curious fans of Catastrophe found when searching for occurrences of obesity connected with Johnny.

Hollywood Vampires by Adam Bettcher

Catastrophe didn’t cross any lines with “fat Johnny Depp.” In the already thin margin of things comedians are allowed to poke fun at, most would agree Catastrophe’s use of the word fat was not even close, and perhaps humor should get a free pass anyway, though it seldom does. After all, laughter is a good thing that is in short supply lately, so perhaps it’s worth it to cross a few of those hard politically correct boundaries.


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“Fat Johnny Depp,” or perhaps fat shamed Depp did get most of the weight off, and he’s looking cool again, so all is right with the world, right? But what about all those other would be Johnny Depp lookalikes that can’t? Not everyone has a personal trainer, and some people are strongly genetically predisposed to be heavy.

“Fat Johnny Depp” being mentioned on Catastrophe inspired a lot of curiosity and laughter, but hopefully some compassionate thoughts for heavier people as well.

[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]