Written by Cynthia Turner
Comedians have for years defended their work against the tides of political correctness. The notion of limiting their work to avoid offending an individual with a specific set of beliefs would contradict the very essence of comedy. This past weekend on the Yellow Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest, even in a space where few people would expect political correctness, the majority* of comics were incredibly politically correct.
On Friday, Kurt Brounohler performed several jokes on his advantage in society as a tall, white man making fun of the notion that he had won the genetic lottery. Saturday, Sabrina Jalees discussed the importance of feminism as the “radical” notion that men and women deserve to be equal. She was followed by the Lucas Bros whom together joked about the handful of members left in the Black Panther movement and stressing the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
For years, comics have taken advantage of every opportunity to skirt political correctness, but here several comics were bracing it head on to the approval of a liberal audience members. The nature of the jokes might be written off to the liberal atmosphere of the venue, but no comedian willingly changes their personal views to fit those of audience members. Comedians will comply by omission, not by tailoring their opinions.
For years, comics have taken advantage of every opportunity to skirt political correctness, but here several comics were bracing it head on to the approval of a liberal audience members.
This change may say more about both comics’ and society’s understanding of political correctness at large. Political correctness has mostly been made fun of by conservatives and comedians alike for restricting language, education, and thought. However, the purpose of political correctness is to call attention to offensive terminology that expresses an inherently problematic thought. It may require an individual to avoid certain statements to avoid offending another individual, but generally such statements are offensive for a valid reason.
Kurt Brounohler made the politically correct statement that as a white male he has the most privilege in society. He said it not to be politically correct, but because he acknowledges the fact that on average, a white man is more educated and more likely to be employed than a minority in the United States.
The Lucas Bros asserted that being black men, they are disadvantaged by the criminal justice system. However, they weren’t saying that to appeal to political correctness, they said that because the fact is that on average, a black male will be arrested five times before reaching the age of thirty.
Sabrina Jalees joked that women should openly acknowledge their sexuality not because she was trying to pander to the liberal crowd, but because she recognizes that society treats female sexuality with different standards.
Too often, Political correctness is used as a derogatory term for those who would stand in the way of free speech for fear offending a small group.
Every comic writes jokes based on what they consider to be widely accepted by audiences. At Fun Fun Fun Fest, the comics made politically correct jokes because they believed what is politically correct is true and widely understood. Too often, Political correctness is used as a derogatory term for those who would stand in the way of free speech for fear offending a small group. Instead of using it as a pejorative to discredit political correctness, the discussion should objectively evaluate the validity behind ideas that political correct statements represent.
*The only politically incorrect joke that I witnessed that was from Doug Benson who commented that the Lucas Bros had been vaping marijuana on stage before him and nobody said anything because that would have been racist. He insisted that if he had vaped he would have received a citation.¹
¹Towards the end of his set, Doug Benson vaped marijuana on stage without receiving a citation.