Situation Food Allergy: When a joke hits close to home

Kevin James

BLOG POST #80 — Situation food allergy. What would you tweet?

You always liked comedian Kevin James. You regularly watched "The King of Queens.” Somewhere in a box in the basement, you probably still have a Heffernan IPS work shirt.

But your enthusiasm for James quickly changed a few minutes into his latest Netflix stand-up special, “Never Don’t Give Up,” when James begins talking about his disdain for people with food allergies.

That’s right, your beloved Kevin James joined the list of comedians taking shots at people with food allergies. Your son has a peanut allergy. And you don’t think it’s funny to laugh at something so serious.

So you take to Twitter.

“Nothing funny about peanut allergies,” you tweet. “Thought you were better Kevin James.”

As your tweet posts, one of your good friends takes issue with your comment. You’re surprised because this friend is normally supportive.

“It’s a joke!!!” she comments. “Don’t be so sensitive.”

“Jokes about issues that can kill you aren’t jokes,” you reply.

“They’re comedians,” she comments again. “That’s what they do. It’s no big deal.”

Her comment bothers you. After all, this is the same friend who went screaming to her middle school daughter’s principal after she found out a boy was making fun and “bullying” her at lunch.

“Sorry. I don’t like people bullying my kid,” you comment, hoping this will make her see the seriousness of joke.

“Not the same thing,” she responds almost immediately. “This is comedy. You’re overreacting. Just let it go.”

You feel your blood pressure rise, especially when you see others liking the comments.

’No big deal?’


‘Just let it go?’

You take a deep breath and type one more response to her before hitting send. What does that response say?



JJ Vulopas is a rising senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.