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Monday, July 13, 2020

Canceled?: The Day Comedy Died – radical eyes for equity

Canceled?: The Day Comedy Died – radical eyes for equity

Canceled?: The Day Comedy Died

Recently, when I watch standup specials through online services, I think about Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

As I have explained before, a foundational part of my critical Self was established during my teen years through listening to the comedy of George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Along with them, The Firesign Theater and Steve Martin also had a profound impact on me, but Carlin and Pryor led me to studying the life and comedy of Lenny Bruce.
Lenny Bruce's Obscenity Trial Challenged First Amendment Rights ...
Lenny Bruce took obscenity to court.
Bruce, Carlin, and Pryor were incredibly important voices for free speech and the power of words, including the power of offensive words and the sacredness of those words.
So there is more than a bit of nuanced irony to the evolution of standup comedy in the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter era, an evolution that looks to me like the death of comedy.
Standup comedians—especially white male comedians—are quite predictable now; they turn immediately or eventually to the anti-cancel culture bandwagon that appears to be mandatory for a standup routine in 2020.
There’s a lot of “Don’t judge me because the line has moved” and “Comedy is a ‘joke,’ right?” kind of laziness in the routines. While contemporary comedians seem to be joining a tradition found in Bruce, Carlin, and Pryor, the ugly truth is that these routines are lazy and angry responses to a mostly mangled and even fabricated message about “cancel culture.”
Comedians have joined a backlash against cancel culture, and these CONTINUE READING: Canceled?: The Day Comedy Died – radical eyes for equity