“For God’s Sake Don’t be Funny”

Stephen Guy Hardin

“I am not a bum. I’m a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and… uh… my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi…”

This is the opening monologue from the movie The Jerk . Funny in 1979. Racist, oppressive, and symbolic of Whte privilege now.

Pete Davidson,  Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld just to name a growing number of professional big name comedians are no longer performing on college campuses. The reason? Besides college students being too self involved to put down their i-phone long enough to listen to a real person the overriding reason is the Black plague of a free society. Political correctness. College kids today are too politically correct.

The over pampered, underachieving college age elitists that refers to themselves in the third person as Progressives adhere to the strictures of politically correct thought control with the same religious zeal  Muslims adhere to as they strap a vest of explosives onto their underage child and pat them on the hand as they drop them off near the nearest U.S. Army base.

But I digress.

“I hear that all the time,” Seinfeld said in a recent interview. “I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.’”

Seinfeld says teens and college-aged kids don’t understand what it means to throw around certain politically-correct terms. “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice,’” he said. “They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

Seinfeld went on to recount a conversation he and his wife had with their college-bound daughter.

“My wife says to her, ‘Well, you know, in the next couple years, I think maybe you’re going to want to be hanging around the city more on the weekends, so you can see boys,’” Seinfeld recalled. “You know what my daughter says? She says, ‘That’s sexist.’”

Teenagers will be teenagers, right?  But this isn’t underage drinking, or staying  out too late or smoking pot behind the neighbors garage. This is thought control at its most basic. Destroy one of society’s most basic forms of freedom of speech, humor, and you begin to Eliminate the ability of anyone to speak their version of truth to power.  It’s just a short hop,skip and a jump before you are on the yellow brick road road to a totalitarian state and the Man behind the Curtain is holding an AK-47.

This current crop of self identified social justice warriors are so cautious and careful with any thoughts and speech that the ability to descent is bred out by future generations. This is the group think that if I agree with the crowd I will be protected from the crowd.  Sounds surprisingly similar to the group think of a lynch mob.

Lynch mob,indeed.

“Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson revealed in a new interview that he has sworn off performing on college campuses because hypersensitive students are sucking the fun out of comedy.

“It makes doing college [shows] really hard,” Mr. Davidson, 26, told Paper magazine while discussing the rise of cancel culture.

“I refuse to do a college after this year ‘cause it’s like, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble,” he said. “Comedy is just, like, getting destroyed. Standup’s about to be about, like, sneakers. Like, ‘Hey, everyone like sneakers?’ You can’t talk about anything. You can’t. The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today. And I don’t think that’s a safe place to live in.”

Mr. Davidson has sparked controversy in the past on college campuses and for comments on the current cancel culture and #MeToo Movement which was deemed not ideologically pure enough. In August, the University of Central Florida condemned an on-campus performance by Mr. Davidson for using “abusive language” and upsetting students after he used the word “retarded.”  

Oh,the horror.

The day before this hate crime was committed he sparked backlash for arguing that not all alleged perpetrators in the #MeToo movement should be treated equally.  

Is he insane?

Mr. Davidson explained that none of his jokes come from a hateful place.

“And you can’t know what’s funny until you try it, you know?” he said. “But anything I’ve ever said on stage or made a joke about, I don’t regret it. I mean, some jokes I’m like, ‘Welp, that joke sucked.’ You know? But I’m never like, ‘Aw [expletive]!’ ‘Cause there are times I try things that I think are ridiculous and they work. And that’s what sucks about political correctness in comedy, I think that you need freedom.”

It’s an easy observation to wonder aloud how Lenny Bruce or George Carlin or Richard Pryor would succeed or even earn enough for gas money in today’s vicious,hate filled college climate of speech censorship and thought police uncaged like a pack of German shepherds attacking a peaceful protest. Bruce, Carlin, Sahl just to name a few of the breaking  wave of ‘60’s protest against the restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of action that was the social norm of an earlier time were fighting against the very controlling , reactionary culture that today’s comedians are abandoning the fight against.

The difference, I suppose, is that the old school comedians who broke the barriers and crossed the lines that were clearly drawn had the courage of their convictions and were not afraid.  Not afraid of losing a gig and a paycheck, not afraid of being called names and threatened . Not afraid of society’s judgment.

I guess the key phrase here is not afraid. Today’s comedians don’t want the fight or the potential lost earnings or a cancelled Netflix project.  It’s no longer about humor breaking barriers , it’s about humor buying a new Maserati. In an art form that used humor to change the by word now is don’t offend, don’t challenge, and for Gods’ sake don’t be funny.

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