This new era has brought on many changes, one being comedians feeling they can’t say what they really feel or think. Many comedians have faced critical scrutiny as their jokes and words are being policed by the general public. But according to Original Kings of Comedy star Steve Harvey, only one comedian is impervious to cancel culture, and that’s Dave Chappelle.
Recently, Steve Harvey spoke to reporters to promote his latest ABC show, Judge Steve Harvey. During the interview, Harvey was asked whether or not he would venture back into doing standup comedy after doing a plethora of other endeavors. Harvey’s response highlights the damages of cancel culture, directed explicitly to comedians, and claims that is the reason he probably won’t be doing standup.
According to the Family Feud host, comedians who felt free reign to speak their mind and say whatever they wanted, based on their observations, can no longer do so. Harvey then lists comics such as Kevin Hart, Cedric The Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and even Chris Rock. He states they are all limited in their approach. Harvey feels the only person unaffected by cancel culture is Dave Chappelle because he’s “not sponsored-driven. He’s subscription.”
Steve Harvey mirrors comments similar to that of many other comics who have expressed the same sentiments. In May 2021, Chris Rock made an appearance on The Breakfast Club, where he shared that cancel culture has made everyone become “safe.” The “I Think I Love My Wife” actor shared his belief that the reason for the uprising of various “unfunny” shows, comedians, and movies is “because everybody’s scared to make a move.”
“When everyone gets safe, and nobody tries anything, things get boring,” Chris Rock said to the radio show’s hosts. However, Rock also had a message for those who actively pursue the cancellation and censorship of comedians and other entertainers. As per the comedian, comics already feel the brunt of instant cancellation when audiences don’t laugh at their failed jokes. But when you try to constantly edict what audiences should or should not hear from a comic’s material, it is ”disrespectful” to the audience.
Outside of Dave Chappelle, one of the latest comics to continually be scrutinized for his material, Kevin Hart has been “canceled” multiple times. If you recall, Hart was announced as the host for the 2019 Academy Awards. However, after past homophobic tweets resurfaced on social media, the actor and comedian stepped down, and backlash ensued. Hart refused to apologize, as he claimed to have addressed the issue multiple times in the past.
While that was a rough patch in the actor and comedian’s career, Hart is currently the highest-paid comedian. He continues to be in high demand with new films, television shows, and other ventures. Recently, Hart had words for those who participate in cancel culture, stating that they should “Shut Up” However, Hart agrees that someone should face the consequences if they do something “truly damaging.”
Comedian D.L. Hughley gave his thoughts on the matter as well. During a conversation with Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning, Hughley expressed that no comic should be “reckless” in their approach. Instead, they should be “intentional” with their material. But “no subject should be off-limits” when it comes to comedians because “we don’t function in society that way.”
Newcomer Jess Hilarious, known for her famous “Jess With The Mess” skits on Instagram, came under fire multiple times. Some fans attempted to cancel her for racial profiling or alleged homophobia. After constant ridicule from social media detractors, Jess Hilarious made a video speaking up against cancel culture and criticizing them for attempting to remove “everyone who has a platform.” However, her comments on cancel culture had some trying to maintain her supposed cancellation. Jess Hilarious continues to thrive, though, as she’s since been on television shows like the short-lived Fox sitcom Rel, as well as Wild ‘N Out and Nick Cannon’s new daytime talk show.
Many have consistently tried to cancel Dave Chappelle as they believe he has something against the LGBTQ+ community. Trans rights activists and others developed protests to remove his specials from Netflix and cancel his shows. Dave Chappelle, however, continues to prosper with sold-out shows and his high-charting specials. Following the backlash of his most recent special on Netflix, The Closer, Dave Chappelle held a sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl filled with multiple celebrities. Within the show, Chappelle received a stellar welcome by standing ovation from adoring fans. An elated Chappelle then declared that “If this is what canceled is being like, I love it!”