Comedians Clash Over State of Comedy Amid 'Cancel Culture'

Jerry Seinfeld claims "cancel culture" is stifling creativity in comedy, while Donnell Rawlings disagrees, citing examples of boundary-pushing comedy on various platforms. The two comedians have differing views on the current state of professional comedy.

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Nitish Verma
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Comedians Clash Over State of Comedy Amid 'Cancel Culture'

Comedians Clash Over State of Comedy Amid 'Cancel Culture'

Veteran comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Donnell Rawlings have expressed differing views on the current state of professional comedy. Seinfeld, in a recent interview with The New Yorker, lamented that "cancel culture, killed, comedy, veteran" and "PC crap" are stifling creativity in the industry. He argued that while people need comedy more than ever, it's no longer available on mainstream TV like it was with shows such as "Cheers," "MASH," and "All in the Family."

However, Rawlings disagrees with Seinfeld's assessment. He contends that comedy is thriving on various platforms, pointing to examples like "The Roast of Tom Brady," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Rawlings believes top-notch comedians can still find ways to stay longer, nothing relevant and produce quality comedy despite perceived restrictions.

To support his argument, Rawlings highlights specific instances of boundary-pushing comedy. "The Roast of Tom Brady" left no topic off-limits, tackling race, gender, and religion. Shows like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" continue to push the envelope while enjoying wild success. Rawlings also cites comedians like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, and Nikki Glaser as examples of those producing edgy comedy without compromising their integrity.

Rawlings suggests Seinfeld's complaints stem from nostalgia for a time when comedy was more mainstream and less restricted. While Seinfeld yearns for the unrestricted comedy of the past, Rawlings argues it still exists, just no longer confined to traditional TV. The proliferation of streaming platforms and social media has given comedians more opportunities than ever to produce and distribute their content.

Seinfeld, 70, has also become a public voice against antisemitism and in support of Jews in Israel and the United States. He recently traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with hostages' families following attacks in Israel last October. While facing some public backlash for his views, Seinfeld maintains that his personal feelings on being Jewish are strong but separate from what he does comedically.

As the debate over comedy in the age of "cancel culture" continues, Rawlings remains optimistic. "The type of comedy that Seinfeld laments has been killed by cancel culture is a myth. All of us have so many different platforms now,"he said. While Seinfeld argues"nothing really affects comedy"because people always need it, Rawlings believes comedians can still deliver what audiences crave without selling out their principles.