InterviewsOpinion

Have We Reached Peak Woke?

'SNL' stumbles, Bill Maher rises and 'Gutfeld!' crashes late night party

Consumers know “Saturday Night Live” is the premiere spot for political comedy.

Or, to be more accurate, was the premiere spot up until a few years ago.

Now?

“SNL” pulls its satirical punches whenever a Democrat stumbles. And, in the Age of Biden, that happens more or less daily.

So it’s not a shock that “SNL’s” season premiere drew historically low ratings last week. Who wants to watch a show avoiding the juiciest headlines only to mock parents attending school board meetings?

School Board Meeting - SNL

The “SNL” news is only part of the bigger picture.

Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” rose up to defeat late night king Stephen Colbert in recent weeks. Greg Gutfeld’s show isn’t jam-packed with stars, but his willingness to speak truth to the current power structure is drawing a crowd.

And, yes, Team Gutfeld also shreds the woke Left in the process. So, too, does reliably liberal late night host Bill Maher. 

The star of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” routinely torches the far-Left now. As a result, he’s finding some unfamiliar faces attending his stand-up shows.

Conservative faces, to be specific.

New Rule: Progressophobia | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Maher noted how recent crowds feature a fair percentage of right-leaning fans eager to hear his punchlines.

“For the first time in my life, I am playing to a mixed audience,” Maher shared on “The Joe Scarborough Podcast….”

“That never used to happen — never — I think it’s because 10 years ago, in my opinion anyway, the left did not have a crazy section … there was no such thing as woke, and now they do have a crazy section, which I call out as a liberal. I think I’m kind of one of the only people doing that, so there’s a hunger to hear that.”

That “hunger” powers right-leaning comics like JP Sears and apolitical talent alike – think Ryan Long for the latter category.

It helps explain the reaction Dave Chappelle received this week during an appearance at the star-studded Hollywood Bowl. Chappelle came to promote a new, untitled documentary covering his comedy career, but the headlines surrounding his new Netflix special, “The Closer,” preceded him.

GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition and select progressive activists want the special removed from Netflix for so-called “transphobic” material.

Chappelle didn’t back down.

“F*** Twitter, this is real life,” the comedy icon said, drawing cheers from the tony crowd.

Dave Chappelle: The Closer | New Netflix Standup Special | Teaser

All of the above came days after reality show star Bethany Frankel stared down the Cancel Culture mob on her own terms. Frankel shared her views on gender pronouns and more in a recent podcast, drawing furious responses on social media.

The “Real Housewives” star’s response?

“I’m going to discuss this again this week. Thankfully I have a platform to clarify what the media loves to distort. …ps. I’m not afraid of cancelation so not afraid of charged discussions.”

Frankel had more to say on the subject.

“Nominate me for cancelation (sic) … there are like five others before you so take a number.”

It’s worth noting stars large and small routinely bow to the woke mob when it knocks on their door. Scarlett Johansson may be the biggest example. She apologized after briefly accepting a role in which she would play a trans woman. Oscar winner Halle Berry backpedaled the same way after a related casting kerfuffle.

RELATED: What Is Cancel Culture, and Why Should Artists Fear It?

Chappelle is no mood to apologize, at least not yet. And it’s clear he knows the professional stakes in play.

“If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,” Chappelle cracked during this week’s Hollywood Bowl appearance, with the crowd’s unequivocal support.

Right-leaning critics, this reporter included, thought Chappelle’s 2019 Netflix special might spark the beginning of the end for Cancel Culture. The comedian’s razor sharp attacks on social justice warriors bruised plenty of egos.

That didn’t pan out.

In fact, the woke movement grew in strength since then. Could Chappelle’s second brush with the woke mob do the trick?

Radio show host and podcaster Chris Stigall suspects as much, noting a rebellious spirit sweeping the nation. So does John Nolte of Breitbart News fame.

This might just be the beginning of the end of this fascist blacklisting era we now call the cancel culture.

Nolte’s evidence?

Nearly 18,000 people at The Hollywood Bowl, a crowd including huge stars like Brad Pitt, cheered Chappelle.

Of course, this standing ovation was for Chappelle, but it was also something bigger, much bigger. Standing for Chappelle was a revolutionary act of rebellion, was the entertainment industry itself standing against the Woke Gestapo and rejecting the 21st-century version of McCarthyism. They stood for their own right to free speech and artistic expression.

We’ll soon see if he’s right.

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