There’s Nothing More Tasteless Than Eating Disorder Jokes at a Bridal Show

When you think of a bridal show, you may have visions of creative photographers, wedding gown experts, travel gurus, brilliant bakers, and entertainment professionals settled at their respective booths, vying for the attention of every bride, bridesmaid, and mother of the bride in a 60-mile radius. And quite likely, you’ll expect this event to culminate with a parade of elegant men, women, and children in a bridal fashion show designed to elicit the oohs and ahhs of those aforementioned brides and their entourages.

What you don’t expect, I’d gather, is for a barrage of demeaning, disgusting, and downright offensive commentary from the fashion show emcee.

Last weekend, I attended my second bridal show in preparation for my upcoming nuptials. This time, I was accompanied by one of my amazing bridesmaids at The Windy City Wedding Show at the Embassy Suites in Naperville, where we made appointments for dress fittings, gathered ideas, and spoke with other potential vendors. It all went as expected. Until the fashion show portion of the afternoon.

As the lights dimmed, we were greeted by a man who claims on his entertainment company’s website to “know exactly how to make your special event, extraordinary.”

Extraordinary, indeed.

If this fashion show were an audition for my business, Keith Christopher (KC) KoKoruz of Keith Christopher Entertainment would have lost my bid the moment he opened his mouth. As the audience, which consisted of a female majority, awaited the show, Mr. KoKoruz asked for a round of applause.

When the audience didn’t offer enough enthusiasm to suit his liking, he made the following commentary:

“We’ve got some insecure and unattractive models back there. They’re going to need some more applause before they come out here. [If you don’t clap louder,] we’re going to have eating disorders up the wazoo.”

Not only were disparaging remarks made about the models in the show, but also this emcee tastelessly made light of eating disorders to a room full of women, many of whom had probably started some sort of diet regimen to fit society’s standards of a beautiful bride.

When did it become okay to crack jokes about eating disorders?

I’ll give you a hint: It didn’t.

I left that show fuming. Pissed at the man who spoke the words. Angry at the wedding show company that supports this sort of commentary. Irritated with the women who clapped after his speech. Mad at the world. Disappointed in myself.

Not one woman in the room, myself included, stood up and said anything to this man. I was ready to start asking him questions immediately after the show, but I could sense my companion was uncomfortable with this idea, and opted, instead, to email* Keith KoKoruza, who also owns Windy City Wedding Show and several other businesses tailored to Chicago-area brides.

In both a blog post comment and a Facebook comment, Mr. KoKoruza apologized for his insensitive and uncouth remarks, but his double apology came wrapped with excuses and exceptions. Anything but genuine remorse.

He was very confident that his humor was used successfully throughout the show though I found him crass and chauvinistic. But, to each their own. Humor is absolutely a personal thing. There’s a line, though, between crass and class. I assumed when I registered for a professional bridal show, though, I’d be receiving the class end of the stick.

KoKoruza also insists that his jokes about the models are funny because they’re his friends. “They are also some of the most secure and confident people I have ever met which is what made the joke so ironic,” he rebutted.

Unfortunately, KC doesn’t seem to understand that people who appear confident are not always as secure with themselves as they seem. Many people have close friends and family members struggling in secret with their eating disorders. On the outside, they look happy, fearless, and well-adjusted. On the inside, they are fighting a demon every day of their lives.

Eating disorders are lifelong mental illnesses. You don’t recover from an eating disorder. You don’t wake up one day and decide, I’m not going to starve myself anymore or I’m done puking up every meal I eat and then it’s over. You wake up every day and decide, I’m going to focus on taking care of my body today. I will fight my disease, and today, I will win this battle. Every day is a battle. Every meal is a battle. Some battles are easier to win than others. And some are harder.

But what those struggling with eating disorders don’t need is some man, who may or may not struggle with his own eating disorder (I won’t be so brazen as to assume he doesn’t), making jokes about it as if it doesn’t matter. As if it’s not real. As if every model behind those curtains wasn’t insecure. He doesn’t know.

But what he should know is the complete disregard for propriety he displayed to the audience at this wedding show in order to gain a few cheap laughs. It’s a shame there is no one to hold this emcee accountable because what KC KoKoruz said was unacceptable.

What would you have said or done if you had been at the show? How would you have reacted? 

*While Mr. KoKoruza did not respond to my initial email sent the day of the bridal show (apparently, it was lost in the system), he did see and respond to my Facebook message.  His response arrived in the form of a comment here and on Facebook, which you can view below.

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Comments

  1. Personally I would have stood up and walked out. It’s so tacky that the event organizers didn’t respond to the complaint. I really don’t understand people sometimes.

  2. Well, you know me. I would have called him out, and then walked out.

    He said the models were unattractive and insecure? WTF?
    People think we’re too “PC” in today’s world, but I don’t care WHAT they say. Some jokes are downright offensive. Like his.

  3. You ROCK. I would have done the exact same as you, right down to the doing nothing and beig upset about it, then emailing after. GOOD FOR YOU for writing about it.

  4. UGH. The eating disorder joke AND he insulted them by calling them crazy and ugly. What a d-bag. His side job must be as Trump’s PR director.

  5. Quirky Chrissy,

    Let me start by setting the record straight. My name is Keith “K.C.” KoKoruz and I am the both the owner of Keith Christopher Entertainment as well as The Windy City Wedding Show.

    I am truly sorry if my attempt at humor was off-putting to you. That was certainly not my intention. What you fail to disclose in your blog was the fact that I used humor quite frequently and successfully throughout the course of the fashion show while also delivering details about the dresses, designers, and runway sponsors.

    What is more disappointing however is the use of your blog as some sort of journalistic source to voice your outrage at my use of humor. Had you taken more than 30 seconds to research who I am before choosing to condemn me, you would have discovered that I own both companies, but you didn’t. Had you taken the time to learn anything about my relationship with the models that I was referring to in my humor, you would have known that these are not only professional models, but they are also close friends that I have known for years. I have celebrated marriages, births, etc. with them and have even had the majority of them to my home for parties, dinners. Etc. They are also some of the most secure and confident people I have ever met which is what made the joke so ironic.

    Now let’s look at your actions; you emailed the Windy City Wedding Show via Facebook last night at 9:02 p.m. 4 days after the show. Keith Christopher Entertainment was never sent an email as your blog has stated. Your initial email wasn’t to voice your concern or your outrage about my use of humor, it was to inform me that you were instead doing an “article” about my use of humor. I responded at 7:02 a.m. You then emailed back a list of questions at 7:27 a.m. letting me know that your blog would be live by 8:30 a.m. You gave me an hour to respond to you and not even during business hours. You waited 4 days to contact me in the first place and then gave me an hour and 3 minutes to respond at 7:27 a.m.

    The reality is that you really don’t care what my answers are, you simply wanted to get a blog up as quickly as possible in an effort to have a juicy topic for people to read. I think that is crystal clear by your actions. There were over 600 people in attendance at that show and not one person other than yourself said anything to me about my humor.

    Since you claim to be a humor writer on your Facebook page, let’s take a look at humor. If you are a humor writer you know that humor is like art, it is subject to one’s taste. On a nightly basis late night talk show hosts and their writing staff choose to use humor at the expense of a celebrity, politician, news, or sometimes just a random person walking down the street who was stopped to be asked a question and is excited about the possibility of being on national TV. Movies that are comedy based use humor. Meme’s on social media use humor. It is ok to think that something is not funny. It is also ok to think something is funny.

    Mahatma Gandhi said if I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide. I don’t think he was making fun of suicide. Michael J Fox said I think the scariest person in the world is the person with no sense of humor. This is a man who regularly pokes fun at the disease that he himself is afflicted with. Does that make him insensitive to other who are also afflicted with the same disease?

    If the biggest concern that you have with your life right now is a joke that a commentator said at a local bridal show, you should consider yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet since there are far bigger issues happening in the world right now.

    I apologize once again if anyone was offended by my joke, it was never my intention. I appreciate your feedback and wish you the best in the future.

    Keith KoKoruz

    • Keith, I agree with you that what is and isn’t funny is subject to personal taste. I’m sure someone found your eating disorder jokes amusing, though I can’t really wrap my mind around that. I’ve written humor (successfully or horribly depending on who you ask), and the main objective is to know your audience. I think if you made a bunch of fat jokes at a Weight Watchers meeting or did stand up making fun of drunks at an AA meeting you would know no one would be laughing. (There’s a second valid argument that those jokes wouldn’t be funny anywhere, but DEFINITELY their level of offensiveness is heightened when you are trying to sell them to the suffering) While this wasn’t a convention for sufferers of eating disorders it WAS a gathering of brides-to-be. Not all women fit the same mold but most do feel a sense of anxiety or pressure about how they’ll look on their wedding day. There’s a huge and obvious industry devoted to helping brides shape up or slim down. Common knowledge. Surely as a professional who works these events, you should understand who your audience is. I can’t imagine a context in which referring to women as fat, ugly, or ready to starve themselves would be funny but the “jokes” extra tank when speaking to a crowd of women. It’s clear you do not think your jokes were inappropriate so I hope you find an audience for them elsewhere (maybe a Trump rally or misogynist organization would do the trick)

    • Nope, it doesn’t matter that you own the company. It doesn’t matter you are friends with the models. Your audience and potential customers are NOT your friends. They also don’t know that your joke is “ironic”. If it’s only funny to you, it’s not really a successful joke, is it? It doesn’t matter if other jokes were successful. This joke is the joke that people remembered.

      Here’s the deal. I have a beautiful, healthy and fit teenage daughter. For reference, she wears a size 0. I have heard the words “Do you think I’m fat?” come out of her mouth. I have watched her deal with low self-esteem from other peoples comments. I have seen friends starve themselves before their weddings.

      Do I spend a lot of time on internet outrage? not usually. But since you came by, I figured I’d let you know that I share the opinion of Chrissy. It’s not appropriate. If you want to joke that way with your friends, whatever. But, I for one, am sick of the shaming of women and how they look. Fat, skinny, pretty or unattractive, just shut up about it. No wonder women have such insecurities about how they look. Have you noticed that no one comments on “who” the male presidential candidates are wearing? But I’ve heard all about what Clinton is wearing, I’ve also heard about her breasts and her thighs, and how unattractive people find her. The only time I’ve heard of a presidential penis is the one that Trump brought up himself. It’s such a double standard.

      Humor is subjective. And if you were my friend, I could tell you some jokes that would probably shock you. Jokes that I find hilarious as much as I know they are horribly inappropriate. That’s why I share them with my husband, or select friends who share my humor. But I think the phrase “Know your audience” applies here.

      • I thought of something else today…You said no one else complained, and maybe no one else complained TO YOU, but how many of them voted with their money, and chose to hire someone else?

    • Mr. KoKoruz,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment with your kind and thoughtful response. I wanted to make it abundantly clear that I recognize, based on the more-than-30-seconds-of research that I did do this week, that this was a kind response from you. 

      To clarify a few things for you, I intend to edit the post to include some of your comments and excuses posed here as soon as am able, because I was genuinely hoping to get a response from you. My first email to you was on Sunday evening, shortly after I arrived home from the bridal show. I emailed bothkc@keithchristopher.com andinfo@windycityweddingshow.com. If neither of those email addresses belong to you, then I can understand why you didn’t receive my initial request for an actual interview early this week. But if those email addresses belong to you, it begs the question, why were my emails ignored? I waited until the end of the week to schedule the post, sending a last-minute Facebook message to elicit a response from the Wedding Show. 

      I was unaware that you owned Windy City Wedding Show, but thank you for that clarification. On all the promotional information that I receive, it states that your entertainment company is a partner, not that you are the owner. 

      As far as the definition of humor, there’s a line between class and crass. I think we know where your sense of humor falls. To the rest of your claims, I feel no need to explain myself. I hope you have a beautiful day, and perhaps you’ll take the joke about eating disorders out of your show.  

  6. Oooo Oooo Oooo…. this should be fun.

    As a employee at a behavioral health residential treatment facility for teenage girls, I am really interested to see how this pans out.

    And…..go!

  7. I find this man to be the most insincere,ignorant,clueless man in business. He should be, I would think he also makes fun of people of color( mostly with his buddies), or people with special needs. What about a teenager with acne. I’m sure he has many jokes in his bag of poor taste jokes. Tell me something Mr.KC, is an amputee funny? Maybe a war vet? I bet not in your small mind. He is a hero! But a model with an eating disorder…hahaha. So funny.
    Quirky Chrissy called me on the way home from the show. Upset is an understatement. You should be glad she waited 4 days to cool down and only present it on her blog.
    I am sure their are many confident models. Heck, their models. But, many do have eating disorders, or herion addictions.
    A bigot is a bigot is a bigot.

  8. Chrissy, well done for drawing attention to this. Mr. Kokoruz is lucky to have someone as gracious as you both contacting him ahead of time and amending the post despite having ingored your initial emails.

    His ‘humor’ was tasteless and totally inappropriate given the event. (Having watched friends fade away into nothingness I’d argue they are ALWAYS inappropriate). You go girrrrl! Wishing you all the best on your upcoming nuptials!

  9. You rock Quirky Chrissy. Often times when something hurts and offends people don’t do or say anything. I think it’s wonderful you wrote about this because if you were affected others most certainly were as well. The target audience of this event was obviously not the focus for this gentleman. Your words are making conversation and that leads to change and that. Is. Awesome.

  10. So basically after reading what happened here and also reading the facebook comments it’s pretty clear the guy is a clueless dick who won’t really admit he was wrong. Also, it’s pretty obvious he received those emails ( with screenshot proof ) even though he clams he never saw them. He only decided to respond when he was called out on a blog and social media as he probably never expected that. Now he is trying to justify his actions so his biz won’t be hurt and protect his image.

    Also, judging by his facebook pics he is not in any position to crack jokes about women’s looks and eating disorders.

    You go Chrissy!

  11. misogyny at a bridal show, from the owner of all things bridal. is misogyny a popular wedding theme this year? if so, i’ll pass.

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