By Jeff Davidson
I’m sitting in the audience of a humorous presenter. His name is Simon McKinney and he hails from New Zealand. He is speaking to a theater full of cruise ship passengers as that evening’s entertainer.
Of the 400 people in the audience, about three quarters are American and the remaining quarter was comprised largely of British, Canadian, and Australian passengers. At the start, McKinney leans forward and tells the audience that he might end up offending somebody, but from the bottom of his heart, he wants to say, “Get over it.” The audience lets out a hearty chuckle. They, too, have had it with political correctness, and are supportive of a comedian who announces at the outset that he does not adhere to its dictates.
Not Alone Among Comics
You might think that McKinney is one of few who would speak like this. Actually, after listening to several humorists and comedians, I’ve concluded that they all feel the same way. They’ve had it up to here with political correctness, audience members who are easily offended, and some sort of invisible hand guiding them as to what they can and cannot say.
Undoubtedly, you’ve read about Jerry Seinfeld and others who have lamented the state of comedy in America today. Seinfeld, for one, will not speak on college campuses anymore. He has said unequivocally that today’s students simply have little tolerance for anything that disagrees with their worldview. Many are humorless and any humor they encounter has to be so safe as to be bland. In any case, Seinfeld will have none of it.
I am happy to report that McKinney and other comics, globally, have all gravitated to the same notion. They do not want any part of the Left’s edicts as to what can and cannot be made fun of.
Not Safe, Not Sorry
Humor, as we have grown up to know it, was never designed to be safe. If you’re old enough to remember Don Rickles on The Tonight Show Starring with Johnny Carson, you know that Rickles verbally machine gunned everyone in sight. Comics such as Richard Pryor, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, Dick Gregory, and so many others went over the edge and were unapologetic for it.
The people in McKinney’s audience that night, and for other comics on other nights during the cruise, were in complete unison with his view. Do your thing and let the chips fall where they may. If someone gets offended here or there, it’ll all pass soon enough.
McKinney and others like him are careful to spread the jokes and insults all around so that nobody is singled out in the end. If everyone in the audience has concern about one minor joke or another, great. They can all depart feeling as if they weren’t victimized any more than anyone else.
You’ve got to hand it to the Left; when they impose their views on one industry or another, or one institution on another, they are thorough. They’ve infected Hollywood, academia, big tech, newspapers, television, and yes, humor.
It is no accident that the Left seeks to control and restrict humor, as they seek to do in so many other domains. After all, if comedians are free to say what they want, others, recognizing the wisdom in their quips will gain some perspective that they would not attain listening to very restricted routines. The last thing that the Left wants is people who can think for themselves or, at the least, accept the viewpoints and wit of others.
Because virtually no comedian wants to be imposed upon in the ways that the Left requires, the Left will not succeed in quashing no-holds-barred humor. No current comedian is likely to put up with the de facto bull twang restrictions that the Left seeks to spread continuously and forevermore.
Slings and Arrows
Want to disparage this group or that group? Go ahead. As long as you spray your derision all around, and everyone is fair game, who in the end can complain? If you’re too thin-skinned to take a joke about your group, then, by all means, walk out. That will be your mini protest.
The rest of us are in for a night of comedy, and for 45 minutes, we will weather the slings and arrows of humorous and outrageous fortune.
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management.
By Frosty Wooldridge