Make no mistake, words can hurt you. Despite the "sticks and stones" incantation that many of us hear from an early age, words can be lethal. People can and do say hurtful and destructive things. But to be effective any insult or put-down must find its mark. Even the most wounding remark is harmless until it finds its target. As someone once said, "In order to get your goat they must first find your goat." My advice? Move your goat.
People are robust and free-thinking and not as easily offended as one might think. Still, better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.
We quite often hear people using the media to complain about humour being a sign of disrespect. But it ain't necessarily so. We have reason to be suspicious of those who claim that humour is out of place. When it's genuine, that is.