When Did Comedians Get So Sensitive?

I’ve heard a few comics talk about the so-called “PC culture” on college campuses as if it’s the death of comedy and they will not go there anymore. As someone who despises the term “political correctness” and believes it is completely a creation of the entrenched establishment as rhetorical jiu jitsu to deflect criticism of their inappropriate behavior, I’ve not been too sympathetic with the comic’s plight on that level.

Jerry Seinfeld, who is admittedly, somewhat autistic, has been recently outspoken about this and Amanda Marcotte is even less sympathetic than me. If you can’t tell gay jokes anymore, then write new jokes, don’t whine about it as if you were entitled to that laugh.

Seinfeld made a ridiculous connection with an anecdote about his 14 year old daughter that screams of creeping “get off my lawnism”.

“My wife says to her, ‘Well, you know, in the next couple years, I think maybe you’re going to want to be hanging around the city more on the weekends, so you can see boys,’” he riffed. “You know what my daughter says? She says, ‘That’s sexist.’ They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist’; ‘That’s sexist’; ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Um, firstly, maybe your daughter isn’t being “PC” per se. Really doesn’t that sound exactly like a 14 year old girl responding to a potentially embarrassing assertion from her mother? Her mother, of all people, talking about boys. That’s not “PC” and your daughter is not on a college campus, so keep your anecdote Jer!

It’s a good thing for comedy if hackish comedians are finding it harder and harder to rely on half-baked and unfunny jokes that rest on the premise that straight guys are better and cooler than everyone else. If that means that audiences increasingly notice that Jerry Seinfeld is really not that funny, so be it. He can go home and count the millions made off a simpler, less discerning era.

That’s a burn. In the late 80s when my set went to comedy clubs and knew all the comics, Seinfeld was kind of an inside joke for his mild mannered observational routines. Any assertion followed by “what’s up with that?” spoken in a high whine was a universal laugh line. Then “Seinfeld” the TV show came out and all of a sudden it was as if Jerry Seinfeld was some great stand-up. He wasn’t ever that great.

Remember how on the first season of the show they had cut aways of him doing stand up and then they stopped that for the second season? There was a reason – it was the weakest part of the show.

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