All three comics have separately said that freedom of speech prevails over a small but vocal group of abolitionist vocal culture warriors intent on censoring comedians.
“Comedians need to stop just buying into all the buzz and start telling jokes how they want to,” New York stand-up comic Tyler Fisher told Fox News. “You can never progress as an artist unless you cross the line.”
Comedians like Dave Chappelle rose to the top Goals of cancellation culture Over the past few years. Recently, Minneapolis’ First Avenue canceled a sold-out show hours before Chappelle’s set time after the storied venue faced backlash from its staff and community over the superstar comedian’s jokes about the transgender community.
“Too often, a lot more credit is given to the way people interpret what you say or what you do as a comedian than what your real intentions are,” Los Angeles comedian Josh Denny told Fox News.
“When venues like First Avenue get crowded, it’s dangerous,” Denny continued. “It basically tells all those transgender people that they think what Dave Chappelle says about them is true, and it’s not at all.”
Comedians told Fox News they believe the people who aim to censor comedians represent a small, but highly pronounced, segment of America.
“We’re sensitizing a very small minority of people and giving them superpowers,” Fisher said. “I don’t think America has become too sensitive.”
Denny similarly said: “I think the people who want to censor comedy or abolish comedians, who take risks, who push the envelope, are a very, very organized, vocal minority of people. There’s really an outcry and I think the renaissance of an audience that doesn’t want politically correct comedy anymore.”
Chrissy Meyer, a New York stand-up comic, told Fox News Censoring comedians “The most selfish thing you can do.”
“Oh, I don’t like this comedian … I don’t just want to see them, I want to make sure no one else sees them,” she said.
Yet comedians have adapted their jokes to changing social norms throughout history, writes comedy historian Cliff Nesteroff.
“The tug of war between censorship and free speech has been part of comedy for its entire existence,” Nesteroff writes. Los Angeles Times op-ed. “It’s likely to continue.”
He gives examples of 20th century comedians being arrested or banned for their jokes.
Still, Fisher says he censored his own comedy for nearly a decade out of fear of modern cancel culture.
“I’m afraid to step outside of that, you know, waking bubble,” he said.
80% of adults surveyed a New York Times/Siena College Poll Some Americans fearing retaliation or harsh criticism said in February that they see a serious problem with not exercising their freedom of speech. An April Morning Consult poll found almost a third of adults felt the same way Couldn’t speak freely on social media.
Fisher told Fox News that he saw a change as President Biden began to age and produce less energy.
“I’ll make fun of Donald Trump for four years,” he said, impersonating the former president. “Then, I made fun of Biden, and they were like, oh, you’re too far to the right.”
“I make fun of people in power,” Fisher continued. “The left has gone too far, and now any nuance, in the middle, that isn’t censored is considered on the far right.”
The Media Research Center has identified more than 600 examples Social media users are facing bansBetween March 2020 and March 2022, restrictions on posts critical of Biden or content removed. A Morning Consult poll found that half of Republicans say they can’t speak freely on social media, compared to less than 20% of Democrats.
“We almost have this religious crusade now with political parties about who’s right and who’s wrong,” Denny, who has done stand-up for 17 years, told Fox News.
“Everybody has some line, some sacred cow, that they believe is okay to make fun of,” Denny continued. “And it could be their politics, it could be their religious beliefs, any of them.”
Denny, Fisher, and Meyer argue that protecting certain groups leads to further exclusion in comedy.
“True equality through comedy is that everyone is made fun of,” Mayer told Fox News.
Fisher said: “You can’t protect a certain group of people. They actually feel excluded and isolated.”
Chappell has faced criticism many times On his jokes about the transgender community. His Netflix special, “The Closer,” led the tech giant’s staff to walk out in protest, though CEO Ted Sarandos defended the decision to give Chappelle the platform.
“Comedy is the most inclusive thing,” Fisher told Fox News. “You can’t start slowing down stuff and people you can’t joke about.”
Denny said: “I either make fans based on the content I make or I don’t make it based on the content I make, but rather than doing what’s easy to please people I’ll run the turtle race to make the kind of fans I want.”