Jerry Seinfeld recently made some comments about the fact that Political Correctness is taking its toll on comedy. He pointed out that many comedians are hesitant to perform on college campuses due to the sensitivity of the crowd. His own daughters accuse him of being "sexist" if he mentions that they may want to appear attractive to boys.
Look, I'm not all that familiar with Seinfeld's comedy. Some of you tell me he's a "whiner" which is in fact a comedic "style" in its own right. Just as there are comics that thrive on insult, vulgarity, irony, and politics.
The issue is that we've become so sensitive about everything that we no longer feel free to laugh. We bitch about Christians finding the fly in the ointment, but we're all culpable of seeking out the flaw in the most innocent of jokes. We're so hell bent on embracing diversity that we dare not even acknowledge that we're actually diverse. To do so may be misconstrued as racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist. No, we must pretend that we're just a homogenous glob of polyglot and crush any opportunity to laugh about simple being human.
Lenny Bruce began
his career as a groundbreaking comedian, and he ended up a drug addict and
broken man. His rants against his many
critics began to consume him, to the point that his comedy was little more than
carping and complaining. In fact, there was nothing funny about it.
Joan Rivers refused
to apologize for her humor. I'm sure there are countless times that she was
aware that a lot of it would be interpreted as mean or hateful, but she was
willing to risk it if it would evoke laughter, or possibly provoke thought.
We say we don't care
what others think of us, but the truth is, we all care on some level. There are few people that deliberately set
out to get a laugh at the expense of others, but at times it's almost
impossible to avoid.
Everything is so
heavily scrutinized today. I can
remember one of the great joys of being gay was the laughter. Even if society
loathed us, we were able to laugh with one another and at ourselves. But, it seems those days are behind us. We're bigger and better today. We no longer have a need for inside jokes or
our own vernacular. If we're to be loved
and embraced by all, we must conform. No
more humorous references about last night's trick, or the fact that despite his
butch appearance he didn't fulfill the role we had planned for him. No, that's objectification and just not
appropriate. Check your humor at the
door. Keep it moving, there's nothing
Send home the clowns