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‘Political Correctness Has Killed Comedy’

The landscape of comedy has changed dramatically in recent years amid continued discussions over what is or isn’t acceptable for comedians to joke about. This has led to many comics changing their acts greatly while others are playing it safe by refusing to do any more stand-up specials at all for the foreseeable future. Family Feud host and comedian Steve Harvey, per Variety, explained how he fits into the latter category at the Television Critics Association press tour.

“The only way I can do one more special is if it’s at the end of my television career because it will end my television career. We’re in the cancel culture now. No stand-up that is sponsor-driven can say anything he wants to. Chris Rock can’t. Kevin Hart can’t. Cedric the Entertainer can’t. D.L. Hughley can’t. I can go down the list. The only person that can say what they want to say on stage is Dave Chappelle because he’s not sponsor-driven. He’s subscription-driven.”

Harvey, who was on the tour to promote his new ABC reality show Judge Steve Harvey, went on to say that his career in comedy would be over if he stayed in stand-up. From Harvey’s point of view, “every joke” a comedian could tell these days could offend someone. He insists that many jokes need to be about a particular person or group of people, as poking fun at inanimate objects doesn’t make for good comedy. As Harvey puts it:


“If I had tried to continue as a stand-up, there’s no way I could maintain it. Political correctness has killed comedy. Every joke you tell now, it hurts somebody’s feelings. But what people don’t understand about comedians is that a joke has to be about something. It has to be about somebody. We can’t write jokes about puppies all the time. The joke can’t be about bushes all the time. Some of these jokes will have to be about people, because that’s the most interesting topic. So if I come back, I’ll have to wait until I’m done. And I’m not done. I want to do one more. I’ll probably have to call it ‘This Is It.’”

Perhaps wisely, Harvey offers no examples as to what kind of material he’d pursue in this hypothetical farewell show. For now, it appears he’s going to stick with starring on ABC’s reality programming, such as Family Feud and Celebrity Family Feud.

Related: Steve Harvey Drops F-Bomb on Celebrity Family Feud, Immediately Apologizes

Steve Harvey Is Now Hosting His Own Courtroom Series

Judge Steve Harvey

Judge Steve Harvey also recently premiered on ABC and as it sounds, the program featured Harvey serving as a judge. The show has been greenlit as a limited series with only ten episodes ordered outright, but as is always the case, the potential is there to order more episodes if enough people are tuning in.

“My team didn’t know anything about the idea so when I pitched it, and they heard the idea for the first time they were surprised and excited,” Harvey said of the show to “ABC called me back the next day and said they wanted to do it. So that’s really how it was born.”

He added, “There are some heartfelt moments [and] there’s some ridiculousness to it. There are some heartfelt moments in it; there’s some ridiculousness to it. More than anything I use the one gift that I’ve always had and the one that’s gotten me pretty much everywhere in entertainment, and that’s my gift of comedy… it’s going to be flat-out funny!”

Harvey’s new show, Judge Steve Harvey, premiered on Jan. 4. The show airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC.

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