With apologies to Billy Joel, Jerry Seinfeld actually started the fire.
In 2015 one of comedy’s cleanest stand-ups took a bold stand. He ruled out performing for college audiences.
Why? The modern campus is “so PC” it’s no longer fun to tell jokes there, the “Seinfeld” superstar said.
“[The younger generation] just want to use these words,” Seinfeld said. “‘That’s racist, that’s sexist, that’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what they’re talking about.”
Seinfeld’s confession caused a stir, and then some. It’s what happens when a raw nerve gets exposed. Still, the woke culture shrugged off the attack, growing stronger despite Seinfeld’s protests. He may have identified the problem, but he couldn’t stop it from getting worse.
Fellow comic Dave Chappelle just picked up Seinfeld’s baton, and he did so without mercy.
Chappelle’s just-released Netflix special, “Sticks & Stones,” directly addresses woke culture in 2019.
“Uh, Duh… Hey, der, if you do anything wrong in your life, and I find out about it, I’m going to try take everything away from. I don’t care what I find out. It could be today, tomorrow, fifteen, twenty years from now — If I find out, you’re fucking….duh…finished.”
It’s the PC scolds scouring social media posts to cancel people out … get it? It could be busy bodies looking for a social media fix, or reporters lunging for a lazy scoop.
It doesn’t matter who does it. The offenders are merciless. And Chappelle is not a fan.
“That’s why I don’t be coming out doing comedy all the time because y’all [n-word] is the worst motherf***ers I’ve ever tried to entertain in my f***ing life. Goddamn sick of it. This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity. You’re going to be finished, everybody’s doomed!” Chappelle said.
Take that, Seinfeld.
Naturally, one far-left media scribe savaged Chappelle’s routine. Consider it an extension of their outrage following Chappelle’s last Netflix special, which they deemed transphobic and worse.
Here’s the far-left Vice hammering Chappelle for not telling the ‘right’ kind of jokes in the new special.
Chappelle has always been a daredevil comedian willing to take a controversial stance or downplay a serious controversy for laughs, including his early-2000s skits about R. Kelly’s court trials on Chappelle’s Show. But now he chooses to blatantly ignore the historic criticism against his style of comedy [emphasis added] and new loud-and-clear criticism from the trans community.
Being woke means ignoring anyone who attacks conservatives. That’s how you know it’s deeply dishonest.
The early reviews for “Sticks & Stones,” even from reliably woke sites like The Daily Beast, are more measured than the Vice.com piece. Do they fear Chappelle’s cultural clout? Or, more importantly, perhaps they sense all the brickbats they thew at him last time missed by a mile.
Remember what Adam Carolla said about woke culture -- you retreat, they encroach. Conversely, if you stand your ground the Outrage Mob quickly finds another subject.
Chappelle is proving that in real time.
The comic’s direct attack on PC attitudes comes at a curious time. Even some liberals are growing weary of Cancel Culture, even if they’re scared to say so out loud. That extends to the comedy community.
Far-left comic Sarah Silverman just shared how she lost a juicy gig for a decade-old blackface routine for which she repeatedly apologized.
And she’s not happy about it.
Center-left comic Jim Gaffigan bemoaned woke culture during a heart-to-heart with podcaster Joe Rogan.
Chappelle left plenty of room for his peers to take the fight to the woke scolds. A comic could point out the glaring double standards tied to Cancel Culture. Pundits and comics alike can say the harshest things about First Lady Melania Trump one moment, then declare a mild jab at Hillary Clinton too sexist the next.
It’s worth noting that Netflix didn’t cut ties with Chappelle following the press outrage over his last special. The streaming giant gave him another showcase. And, chances are, they’ll continue their ties with the subversive comic, looking past Vice.com and its ilk.
On that level alone, Chappelle just scored a major win in the Culture Wars. Now, will his peers join the fight?