Chris Rock Jokes About Lamar Odom On Twitter & It's So Far From The Right Time

Comedians play a crucial role in society. They have a gift for forcing others to confront the absurdity of things that can be taken too seriously and help break tension during incredibly tense times — two things Chris Rock has always excelled at doing. But Rock recently tweeted a joke about Lamar Odom that some feel leans too far in the direction of crass to be truly funny.

The 50-year-old comedian, who will host the 2016 Oscar Awards, felt the timing was right for a joke at Odom's expense, possibly given the fact that the former NBA player is improving gradually and was well enough to be airlifted from a Las Vegas hospital to a medical facility in Los Angeles, where wife Khloé Kardashian has been by his side seeing him through it all. But, despite the progress the basketball star has made with his speech and movement, he isn't out of the woods just yet. It was reported Thursday night that Odom underwent two emergency surgery procedures for chest issues. TMZ claims a source told them Odom's in "a fragile mental state" and that all visitors except for Kardashian have been banned from his hospital room. Bustle has reached out for comment on these reports, but has not yet heard back.

Doesn't exactly seem like the right time for a laugh.

Regardless, Rock took to Twitter, where he has 3.59 million followers, and posted this meme:

His message, "Stay strong Lamar," makes it perfectly clear that he's just joking and has the best of intentions. But the meme is still being called "controversial" by several news outlets and the question becomes: Is there a time when it's just too soon to crack jokes about people who are experiencing pain?

In Odom's case, he had a near-death experience. But Rock and others might feel it's OK to joke particularly because it is such a dark time and humor could bring some light to it. But how doesn't the desire to show empathy for him override the need to laugh about his sad situation?

If I sound like I'm waffling here, it's because I am. On the one hand, if you look to comedic geniuses to help take away pain with jokes and laughter, you have to agree to also allow them to push the envelope. And you don't really get to decide how far is too far to push, do you? In this particular case though, while a man is still recovering and fighting for his life in a hospital, it's not the ideal time for a laugh at his expense. Wait six months. Wait for him to heal. Wait for Odom and Kardashian to renew their vows in some hideously posh setting on the Dubai Creek — then, by all means, joke away.