Have you noticed a lot of comedians incessantly chirping on about the “woke” ruining comedy or “cancel culture” affecting what they can and can’t say? Comedians, especially stand-up comedians, have recently remodelled themselves as martyrs of freedom as though they’re on the front-lines of a war, a culture war where they’re being suppressed and censored by whoever the fuck’s on the “other side”. What’s amusing about this is the fact that these mic-clutching morons usually state their hollow position from a multi-million dollar platform. Whether stood in a packed stadium, performing on a Netflix special, talking on a Spotify podcast, uploading vids to a monetised YouTube channel, or typing on their blue-ticked Twitter account, these rich fucks have the nerve to say they’re being “cancelled” and therefore their freedoms taken away!
Now before going on, let me state my position for all the assumptive folk out there. Comedians are free to say what they like but then so too are the audience, whether live or present for a rebroadcast. Contrary to that worthless Stephen Fry quote from The Guardian which does the rounds on social media as a meme (see below), “pleasure” and “offence” are both valid reactions to a joke, and to state your reaction – positive or negative – in person or on social media is free speech, in the same way the joke is, and all these things should exist in a free society. Very similar to people being deemed “haters” for airing the unfavourable opinion, it seems that comedians accept adoration from the audience but will dismiss or castigate those who react differently. I assume Fry has never been offended by a wisecrack about a fat, manic depressive, homosexual toff. 🤔
Of course, if a person or a bunch of people, after taking offence at humour then attempt to get the said comedian removed from an upcoming booking, then yes, they’re assholes, but they’re assholes completely different from the set of people who simply stated they’re “offended” and exercised their right to free speech by doing so. The problem with most comedians (and some members of the public) is that they conflate those who are merely stating their point of view with those who want censorship. This is incorrect and it creates a false sense of widespread threat to comedy, not to mention a persona of superiority for the comedian who can then promote themselves as “fighting” against this imaginary menace.
I’ve also noticed a trend for stand-up comedians not saying much in their act but yearning for the accolade of “most controversial” or worse still, “the greatest advocate for freedom”. If you hear some of these self-righteous, self-important wankers talk, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking they’re railing against the establishment on a daily or hourly basis but they’re not. So what’s really happening? Well, some of their comedy topics and delivery styles are stale and they’re mad about it, that’s it. Even Bernard Manning probably thought he was being silenced when 70’s comedy began to feel out-of-date in the 80’s and 90’s but he didn’t get to transform himself into a free speech champion back in the day.
In case you weren’t aware or are too young, in the 2000’s, 1970’s style comedy made it to the fore once more. This time it wasn’t Irish or Polish jokes, instead white, black, and brown comedians began mocking some other brown and black people, because you know, 9/11 happened. Being openly prejudicial against a demographic under the guise of war must have been addictive, because aside from Islamophobia, lots of xenophobic, racist, sexist, and other “ists” began forming the basis of mainstream comedy during that period.
Then in 2015 the Charlie Hebdo shooting inadvertently gave bad comedy a sense of inflated self-worth. Because terrorists killed shit comedians, other shit comedians thought their overrated banality was also under attack. It wasn’t. I recall watching Mike Birbiglia’s Thank God For Jokes on Netflix. Birbiglia mentioned the Charlie Hebdo incident even though his comedy isn’t offensive to anyone with a pulse. He’s never going to get assassinated by a bunch of tetchy terrorists so why even bring that shit up other than to make himself look like some kind of defender of freedom? If Birbiglia with his drab routines thinks he’s doing something life-affirming and socially-challenging then something’s wrong indeed.
Arsenio Hall in his latest Netflix stand-up show (I forget the title) aside from spewing some crappy patriotic garbage, said that a “joke might end your career”. He said this in an almost empty room the size of a liqueur store. What career? Talking out of his backside is probably why he has “Arse” in his name.
Even the dull-as-Regent’s-Canal-water Micky Flanagan made a pointless show about political correctness (Episode 5 “Offence” of Micky Flanagan Thinking Aloud) as though anything Flanagan has ever uttered is worthy of any kind of pissing emotion.
Ricky Gervais then offered us Humanity, where he had a whole bit about how people shouldn’t be offended by comedy, and Rick Not-So-Rude then proceeded to tell the lamest jokes in an attempt at being something he isn’t. Being the establishment’s example of misanthropy, dark humour, and offensiveness usually means that person’s not. When a bunch of mainstream pricks say Gervais is “telling it as it is” (and he entices bigoted right-wingers in the process) it doesn’t make him a radical, left-leaning comic. You’re not Bill Hicks for making Harvey Weinstein jokes at the Golden Globes after the mainstream media’s already dragged the slug-looking fucker down.
Just like the “alternative comedy versus conservative comedy” scene in the late twentieth century, there’s now, once again, a push-back against middle-aged performers from the previous generation who’ve made it big, in lots of cases because of comedic bigotry. Since prejudice forms most old, overrated comedian’s material, lots of them are real angry, so they’ve come up with some bullshit, distractive talking points; being anti-woke and anti-cancel-culture. But if you haven’t noticed, identity politics isn’t the only thing that’s going around.
As the pandemic rages on, wouldn’t it take real guts to make a joke about the F.D.A. or the W.H.O. right now? Wouldn’t it take real cojones to say something against the vaccine passport or forced vaccinations? I don’t care if you’ve just taken your second jab or your booster shot, a real free-speech advocate would defend the right to refuse that shite, and if you’re a talented comedian, it wouldn’t take much effort to fashion any part of our current situation into a joke, even an inoffensive one…
“Doctor, doctor, I’ve received this vaccination invitation but I feel healthy with no symptoms, what should I do?”. The doctor says “I don’t know, why don’t you ask a software developer”.
Yelling “I’m being silenced” on a comedy special or on social media is the epitome of irony, don’t you think? The biggest issue these rich pricks may face is maybe moving their act to another location, because of some fake-liberal tits complaining about content and the venue itself not having any balls to defend their booking. I’ll admit that people who write, petition or picket to close stand-up gigs are censoring shit-bags and yes they contribute to so-called cancel culture, but when Meta, Twitter, Google, Bing and other platforms de-monetise or outright ban people en masse because of a particular topic (cough, cough) and then blue-tick accounts (which includes “comedians”) show-up to demonise that point of view, that’s real cancelling and that’s real “cancel culture” but where’s the outrage from these valiant, free-speech campaigners then? They’re nowhere to be seen because in that instance, they are the cancellers.
Taking you back to the post-September 11th climate for a bit, I’ll remind you of a few political issues we all faced. Our rights in regards to our emails and phone calls being spied on, the erosion of due process, the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, torture, Guantanamo Bay, certain high-up people calling for ID cards, all of this was happening after 2001. These were important issues worth denouncing I’ll think you’ll agree. So what did mainstream stand-ups say back then? Not-a-frigging-thing. Apparently, because terrorism happened, it was their comedic responsibility, no, patriotic duty, to distract from these real issues with racist jokes about Afghanis, Iraqis, and Muslims. Everyone from Carlos Mencia to Jamie Foxx made lazy gags about Arabs or other assorted brown people. Not even George “Saint” Carlin had anything subversive to say about that dodgy event. Two decades later and what do these genius jokers have to say about the next highly suspect event, the Coronavirus pandemic? Once again, nothing. Mmm… I see a pattern forming.
All I hear these days is “We’re all about free speech! We’re for freedom of expression!”. Yeah sure, you want freedom to be bigoted but that’s where your fight for freedom ends. People like Patrice O’Neal used to talk about the right to free speech, most likely so he could perform his racist routines, and even the once-funny comedy actor Rowan Atkinson pops-up now and again to speak about the subject (then he goes off and makes the most banal comedy known to man) but even they didn’t have much to say about big pharma, big business, the military-industrial complex, intelligence agencies, and both sides of the fake-political divide, and I don’t see people like them defend those booted-off platforms for saying something against the mainstream in regards to genuine off-the-table topics. Very sus.
Everyone from Bill Burr to Dave Chappelle have spoken about not being able to speak but nobody’s talking about the issues that you genuinely can’t have a differing opinion on. From the various wars and coups which all have the stench of Imperialism and the scent of Western meddling, to the most pertinent topic of all right now, Covid-19, not one of these wankers has anything daring to say. These contemporary comedy cunts yell ad nauseam about “cancel culture” and the “woke mob” knowing full-well that both these topics have not only been co-opted and bastardised, but they’re a mainstream smokescreen to cover-up actual control and society’s sleepwalking into authoritarianism. As soon as a has-been codger like John Cleese yells “woke” or “cancelled”, that’s when I know these terms are bunkum and that these old wank-stains are connected to the corrupt corporate curve.
I’ve seen numerous comedians answer “no” when asked whether there’s any topic that can’t be joked about, but their examples are hackneyed stuff like rape, AIDS, or the Holocaust. So while they’re thinking they’re being “edgy” as they joke about buggering someone in Auschwitz with an itchy dick or some other pointless shit, have you ever heard these freedom of expression crusaders make “controversial” comedy about the likes of Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, or Klaus Schwab? Ever hear them comment on Justin “Nobody Cares I Blacked-Up” Trudeau, Joe “Nobody Cares About The Crime Bill” Biden or even Volodymyr “Why Does Nobody Care I Met Zoolander” Zelenskyy? Heard them make “satirical” jokes about being forced to take the Coronavirus vaccine to keep your job, carrying a vaccine pass to prove your health status, having your bank accounts frozen to prevent you from protesting, the latest bogus war, or the contradictory response by our governments to white victims of war versus black ones? Nah, of course not. They’re busy telling anti-Russain jokes right now, sometimes with a 1970’s comedy-style accent, and this is something that’s approved across the board from late-night chat shows to Twitter.
For reference, whenever every online company logo and every famous-fuck-face’s social media avatars suddenly change colour to promote the latest news event – Never Forget 9/11, Je Suis Charlie, BLM, Get Vaccinated, Support Ukraine – it’s usually some fake, virtue-signalling crap to look empathetic but in reality a profit-making or propagandist scheme or both. If someone changes their online identity overnight, it’s not only bullshit, it shows how corporations and celebrities are on the same page. Ain’t it great when companies like Meta and mainstream comedians come to a consensus about current events? What revolutionary rabble-rousers you all must be, siding with ex-C.I.A. agents who according to MPN News, decide Facebook’s content.
Don’t forget it was so-called comedians who recently disparaged the oh so wrong concept of “doing your own research” in regards to Covid-19. Think about that; reading the instructions, asking for a second opinion, checking the side-effects, looking for the alternatives, it’s what everyone does (or should do) when prescribed a new medication. But suddenly, you’re complete and utter scum for doing what you always do. So what’s more important? Having bodily autonomy? Having freedom of movement? Having the freedom to protest? Or is it to have the freedom to diss the so-called “woke”? 🧐
Whilst on this topic, we can’t forget about the world’s greatest, Jiu-Jitsu-fighting, UFC-commentating, podcasting, stand-up comedian Joe Rogan (by virtue of him being the only one). Rogan, I’ll remind you, is another one of these superficial, pro-free speechers. Attacked by the fake-left and liked by the fake-right, regular Joe is sometimes promoted as one of the foremost proponents of freedom. I don’t see it. I’ll point out that Joe Rogen is so anti-cancel-culture that he allowed Spotify (or personally asked them, as reported by The Independent) to remove 113 of his old podcast episodes which featured “offensive” language and apparently his use of the N-word. What a way to challenge cancel culture, Joe. 🙄
Something Rogan and his fans don’t seem to notice is that fake-liberals getting offended by a joke and then trying to censor the source of the offence isn’t where cancel culture ends. It might sound trivial to you but when Sky Arts banned an episode of Urban Myths about Michael Jackson (an actual case of comedy being censored), or when the BBC recently vowed never to air the Martin Bashir Princess Diana interview (a case of history being censored), not to mention search engines removing certain sites from results which give you information on “dangerous” topics like suicide (a case of knowledge being censored), this is cancel culture at a mainstream media level but nobody says it is, least of which these comedians. Thanks to Covid-19, any website can get demoted, blocked, or removed thanks to the magic word “misinformation”. And look at all the news channels that have been removed in the UK in recent years; Press TV was removed because… Iran is evil or something, Fox News was removed… because Trump is too right-wing or something, and lately we had Russia Today removed… because Putin and Russia is the devil or whatever. I personally think all news is propaganda but it seems that we’re only allowed to watch national or western propaganda on our idiot boxes.
History is littered with people who spoke out against the powers that be and who got persecuted because of it but a comedian, though needed in society, isn’t in the same league as Malcolm X, Huey Newton or Mohammad Ali. Get some effing perspective. Stand-up comedy doesn’t challenge people’s beliefs or their preconceived ideas, it affirms them. It’s like a modern-day political rally but with laughs; people go to see and hear what they already believe, delivered with a punchline. Do you see Gen-Z liberals going to see Roy Chubby Brown to challenge themselves? No. So why get angry and make your entire comedy routine about the minority in your audience (or people not in your audience at all)? Let’s not forget the most important thing: you have a fucking audience!
I’m all for taking the piss out of everything and offending people. It’s just strange that you fannies want to focus on what you can or can’t say about, let’s say, Transgender people, once again making easy jokes about a minority rather than stick your neck out for genuine free speech, you know, the shit that’ll get you kicked off social media, no questions asked.
Of course private companies are free to remove whoever they want from their platform, but when Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok become tools not only utilised but intertwined in everyone’s life, family, friendships, education and work, are they now not a right, similar to a utility like broadband? Imagine all ISP’s refusing to let you access the internet because of your unorthodox opinion. That’s what it’s like not to being able to use social media in the modern world; you’re not allowed on something integral to modern-day life simply because you think differently. This is what makes this topic the most important issue when talking about censorship. Shaping the internet to suit the opinions of the elite or the establishment is modern-day book burning. But nah, it’s comedians being criticised that’s the most crucial issue of today.
We the public are supposed to support (translates as line the pockets of) a bunch of superficial, anti-woke twats. We’re supposed to think of a comedian who’s booed or their show cancelled as the equivalent to Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Julian Assange. Whatever you think of these people, I don’t see comedians fleeing their country, facing prison sentences, or even losing their jobs for what they do. I therefore don’t see a big enough reason as to why we should “support” their sham cause over all the other shit going on right now. Are we supposed to back you because you’re being taken down a peg or two? We’re supposed to support you as you make moolah off the back of a slap? Or maybe we’re supposed to stick up for all you avante garde artists who joshed about “towel-heads” after 9/11, ignoring the fact that two gigantic structures magically fell into their own footprint a few minutes from one another, leaving most surrounding buildings in-tact and what looked like a lack of rubble, leading to a war with a random country which in turn led to the destabilisation of a whole region but made gazillions for private companies? Two decades after failing to denounce the government, the military, private military contractors, or the intelligence agencies, now you’re avoiding bad-mouthing pharmaceutical companies and wannabe scientists. Via the power of mediocre mockery, you’re basically telling the globe to take an experimental vaccine where its makers are absolved from law-suits, ignoring the potential side-effects that people report, and looking the other way when alternate therapies are offered, even by doctors. There’s absolutely no joke to be told about governmental corruption, corporate profit, and the current culture of scientific infallibility but ain’t it great that you make “horse de-wormer” gags on late night talk shows. So, to counter all this jeering at us regular folk, here’s another shit joke for y’all…
A fit and healthy championship boxer walks into a doctor’s office to invite him to his next fight. The doctor says I’ve got a “jab” for you. The boxer drops down dead, first round knockout.
Of course you lot don’t tell post-modernist, alternative, political jokes with puns, but some of you could just walk on stage and be like “Vaccine mandates, am I right?”. There, your cliched, old-school delivery translated to something of value. It would be quite refreshing if you “comedians” instead of punching down, punched up like you’re supposed to. Instead of offending working and middle-class people, maybe you should offend the rich establishment for once. But don’t worry your wealthy little head about it.
To close, does no one else think it’s strange that zero mainstream comedians from the anti-woke Bill Burr to the wannabe-woke Frankie Boyle has anything shocking to say about our current situation? By most comedian’s own fricking remit, comedy is supposed to be daring but you try to name a comedian who’s gutsy and defiant, someone’s who’s challenging the status quo right now, today. If you’re all about causing offence, where were your intelligently “offensive” gags about terrorism and where are your genuinely “controversial” jokes about Covid? Not told decades after the fact but during the event itself. Remember; if you’re all about protecting free speech like most of you purport to, it means you stick-up for everyone’s rights, even the “crazy” conspiracy theorists and even the “cuckoo” so-called anti-vaxxers. But you stand-up commies don’t do that do you? Because of course, having a dig at inane shite like gender pronouns is much more important.
So gracias stand-up comedians, comedy writers, comedy hosts and presenters. We owe you gratitude and praise for supporting our freedoms. Here’s a big “thank you” to all you funny-boned heroes from the bottom of our patriotic, coagulated hearts. You’re oh so mother-fucking brave.
Not A Stand-Up Guy.
This is a previously unpublished article I started writing in 2019 which I added to in the two years that followed. A few references to recent events (the Ukraine war, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, anti-Russian sentiment, anti-refugee sentiment, Martin Bashir, and the Will Smith/Chris Rock slap) have been added in 2022 along with the Twitter illustration to make it more relevant.