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.
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”