Claude’s Column: Is Comedy Dying?

   I imagine life must be tough for a comedian in 2019. Unfortunately, we live in a society where political correctness reigns supreme.

   And anyone who defies what people consider to be politically correct, even if in a joking manner, is a filthy racist and/or sexist. Particularly over the past decade, so many stand-ups have been under fire for simply attempting to entertain us.

   Nowadays, unless you’re taking shots at Donald Trump, people must proceed with extreme caution when telling a joke lest they suffer the wrath of the social justice warriors.

   Even if it’s something you said a decade ago, people will still shun you to the point where you could even lose your job (I’m looking at you, James Gunn). So with the seemingly endless wave of people being offended by mere humor, one must wonder, is comedy dead?

   Well, in order to tell if comedy is dying, we first must try to understand what exactly comedy, or more specifically, humor, is. One basic principle of humor is the requirement of one’s misery or misfortune. This idea can be applied to any sitcom, movie or comedy sketch.

   For example, would “Tom & Jerry” really be that funny if Tom was never injured?  It’s the pain that Tom goes through trying to catch Jerry that makes you laugh, despite the fact that you wouldn’t be laughing if you were in that situation.

   In a strange twisted way, we find amusement in the misfortune of these fictional characters within a joke, sitcoms etc. Many have referred to humor as a means of coping with the harsh realities of life.

   So you’d think that comedy would thrive today with all the chaos of this world right?

   Well as I’ve stated, we live in a time where everyone’s opinion matters except those that aren’t politically correct. This also extends over humor. Especially on Twitter, so many people are shamed and called racist simply for telling a joke.

   Now, while there are plenty of hateful trolls out there who desire to offend and stir controversy, many comedians have been under fire for simply trying to entertain us.

   Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld has ceased performing at colleges and universities due to the PC students who in his words, “don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

   During an interview with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd in 2015, Seinfeld discussed how teens and college kids use the words “racist,” “sexist” and “prejudice” without knowing exactly what they mean.

   Upon further review, maybe Seinfeld is right. Perhaps we college students have gone soft and need proper education on the terms racist or sexist. If anything, this should be a powerful reminder to educate yourself before going online to complain about how some SNL skit isn’t politically correct.

   So with all of that in mind, is comedy dying? Frankly, it’s hard to say if comedy is dying in the sense that certain fads die. But it certainly seems to be going through a dark phase.

   I believe this is due in part to a lack of unbiased education. Nowadays, so many universities are taught exclusively from one side of the political aisle. And more often than not, any student who expresses a different opinion than that of the majority is harassed by those who deem them “prejudiced” without knowing what prejudice truly means.

   In a way, people who become enraged over mere humor become the very ignorant bigots that they claim to protest against.

   So to conclude, educate yourself. Don’t blindly hate on somebody simply because it’s popular. And if you still find yourself offended by a comedy sketch or sitcom, rather than rant about it on social media, just turn off the TV!

Samuel Claude
Associate Editor

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