Open to Debate Podcast Goes Live On Wokeness In Comedy

13 November 2023
Frank Racioppi
It’s on conservative talk shows that you’ll hear the charge that “wokeness is killing comedy.”
These pundits contend that so many topics are off limits to comedians that “stand-up comics can’t be funny anymore,” as one conservative podcaster whined.
Yet, the hottest stand-up comedian in the field right now is a Tennessee-born comic named Nate Bargatze. His routine doesn’t involve a lot of F bombs and curses. His material isn’t blue. His humor is sly, understated, and situational. He doesn’t talk politics.
Bargatze talks about his parent’s weird house, his sister’s boat, his wife’s inability to use clichés properly, a dead horse, and ordering at Starbucks.
He is funny, popular, and self-effacing.He was recently the host of Saturday Night Live, and his star is rising.
Over the weekend, two comedians debated the question “Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?” for the podcast Open to Debate.
Taped live at the Comedy Cellar, two comedians with extensive standup and sketch experience hashed it out. Arguing “YES” is Lou Perez, comedian, producer, and author of That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore. Arguing “NO” is Michael Ian Black, comedian, actor, and veteran of sketch comedy troupes The State and Stella.
Find the full episode at the Open to Debate websiteApple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you get podcasts.
More info: 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”