What Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, or Eddie Murphy jokes would be deemed offensive by today’s standards? From comedy specials to TV shows and movies, what makes us laugh has come under scrutiny. Some old jokes and racy skits are considered off-limits in today’s context, leading to public apologies, cancellations, and backlash. While society wants more inclusivity and awareness, comedy has now become a cultural battleground. Some argue that political correctness will stifle comedic creativity and worry it will affect comedy’s ability to tackle tough subjects, leading to self-censorship and lack of depth or free speech. Those who disagree say comedy, like all art forms, has always evolved with changing societal norms and it can still flourish without relying on harmful stereotypes or tropes. Instead, acting more sensitive or woke will refine and elevate comedy.  

Against this background, we debate the question: Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?

This debate took place in front of a live audience, on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at The Comedy Cellar’s Village Underground in New York City. The debate recording will be released at a later date. 


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