What do John Cleese, Jerry Seinfeld and Whoopi Goldberg have in common?
Not much before the scourge that is political correctness swarmed western culture.
Seinfeld’s famous 2015 rant against that PC mindset started a wave of discontent among comedians. After all, they make their living by poking fun at our foibles. Audiences unwilling to be mocked make their jobs all but impossible.
They even made a movie about the problem.
The problem has only gotten worse since then.
Just ask Kevin Hart, who got the gig of a lifetime for all of two days before the PC Police pulled him over.
The list of comics rebelling against those PC handcuffs is growing. And it’s not the expected lineup of stars. You’d predict right-leaning comic Adam Carolla would rail against a system clamping down on free speech. He turned down offers for terrestrial radio gigs to stay in the free-form podcasting arena.
Here are nine other modern humorists, some of whom lean left, who have had enough of those PC handcuffs.
The “30 Rock” star took heat for some gags on her Netflix comedy “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Fey’s response?
“… my new goal is not to explain jokes. I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There’s a real culture of demanding apologies, and I’m opting out of that.”
Cue the slow clap, building and building to a crescendo.
The host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” may be liberal to the core, but he’s not afraid to stomp on those eager to squelch comic ingenuity. And that often means he lets loose on his fellow liberals.
He shared some behind-the-scenes tricks last summer that made shooting his HBO series more enjoyable.
“I used to fight with this audience all the time, because we used to get the audience strictly from liberal sources, then we got the audience like from everywhere and I’ve had a much better time the last couple of months,” Maher said.
He’s one of the most vocal critics of the PC Police, holding strong even in the Age of Trump.
The Oscar winner hasn’t directly addressed PC madness in the comedy world. In 2016 she shared her opinions on hyphenated Americans on “The View” in a way that dared people to be offended.
“And every time you put, you hyphenate American, anytime you put something in front of it, it’s like you’re not a real American. Well, I’m a whole lot of all American! This is my country and I’m American. You know, save your tweets and save your hate mail because you know on this case I don’t care.”
Saying “I don’t care” to the Social Justice crowd was brave then … and now.
The former “Saturday Night Live” star addressed the impact PC handcuffs are having on his art form. Comedians work out new material on the road, he said, a practice that could end if the PC police have their say.
“If you think you don’t have room to make mistakes, it’s going to lead to safer, gooier stand-up.”
He’s right, of course. We’re already seeing that on the big screen. We’re getting woke comedies that fail to make us laugh. Where’s the next “Bridesmaids” or “Hangover?”
The Monty Python alum didn’t mince words on the subject. “I’m offended every day,” he said in this video.
“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to.”
He’s not a comedian in the traditional sense. He’s just part of one of the most famous comedy groups …ever. The Monty Python alum frequently butts heads with PC scolds. He did so last year when he mocked a BBC official saying his old show’s so-called whiteness issue “wouldn’t fly today.”
Gilliam fought back again this week while promoting his new film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Here he describes cultural comedy differences while savaging the current humor groupthink.
“I always felt the British are very good at laughing at themselves; the Americans are better at laughing at other people,” Gilliam told the Journal. “I still think it’s pretty true, but it’s changing because now we can’t laugh at anybody because it causes offense.”
At the heart of the perpetual offense phenomenon, he said, is ego. “There’s a kind of egotism out there: ‘Oh, they were making fun of me,'” he said. “Never heard of you. I’m making fun of an idea.”
The left-leaning comic currently co-hosts “The Anthony Cumia Show,” one of the last bastions of free comedy left. Landau shared his thoughts on PC comedy rules on a recent HiT ‘cast. Here’s a telling quote:
“There should be no boundaries for comedy,” he said, citing his show as an example of pure, unfettered humor. “We do punch up. We punch down. We punch sideways. We say horrible sh** and it’s fun.”
The actor and occasional auteur (“Don’t Think Twice”) isn’t an edgy comic by most standards. His material reflects an enormous level of craftstmanship.
He still told this reporter why he rejects PC restrictions on art. They matter, and they can douse the creative fires raging in an artist.
“People have a right to tell jokes, and people have the right be offended by jokes. Those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive,” he says. “When you start to get into this territory of, ‘you can’t tell this joke’ or ‘you’re fired if you tell that joke,’ that’s when it gets sticky.”
He’s arguably the bravest comedian around, sharing secrets about his personal life and taking no prisoners on stage. Norton recently debated Judd Apatow on comedy mores, and he scored a TKO on the “Knocked Up” auteur.
Consider this uppercut:
Apatow and Norton were discussing Louis C.K.’s recent stand-up routine poking fun at the Parkland school survivors and their political activism. Apatow shredded his peer for picking the wrong target. Norton offered some vital perspective.
“That outrage was not there when [C.K.] was talking about Sarah Palin,” Norton said. C.K. called the former Alaskan governor the “C-word.” He also tweeted this about her: “I want to rub my father’s c*** all over Sarah Palin’s fat t***.”
Not every liberal comic is willing to rage against the PC machine. Sarah Silverman essentially said, “bring it on” when asked about political correctness in comedy. Amy Schumer groveled before those who accused her work of being offensive rather than stand her ground.
Lesser known comic Michael Ian Black once tweeted being politically incorrect today means you’re not a truth teller but an “***hole.” And some media outlets are all too eager to support the current system.
Their cowardice makes the aforementioned nine comics stand out even more.