Comedy is getting harder, not because we’re running out of material, but because we’re losing our sense of humor.
“I refuse to do a college after this year ’cause it’s like, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble,” Davidson said. “Comedy is just, like, getting destroyed.”
This summer, Davidson’s visit to the University of Central Florida caused an uproar after he went off on students for getting on their phones during his stand-up routine.
“You film everything, but not enjoy the show for f—in’ an hour, then, like, I don’t gotta be here,” he said. “Whenever somebody else comes to your f—in town and wants to perform, and is exhausted, and flying all the way to the middle of f—in’ nowhere to do jokes for you privileged little assholes, don’t f—in ruin the show for people who actually want to be here.”
When the audience applauded his rant, he chastised them, “Don’t clap. ’Cause like half of you did it. That’s what’s f—ed up about our [generation]. They’re like, ‘Yeah!’ It’s like, wait, you were the one filming, moron.”
The university took its students’ side, releasing a statement apologizing for Davidson’s “abusive language.” It’s no wonder that Davidson isn’t eager to go back.
After the UCF incident and the abrupt firing of another SNL cast member in September, Davidson says comedians are running out of options.
“Stand-up’s about to be about, like, sneakers,” he told Paper. “Like, ‘Hey, everyone like sneakers?’ You can’t talk about anything. You can’t. The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today. And I don’t think that’s a safe place to live in.”
But after the Nike debacle this summer, even sneakers aren’t safe from controversy.
Comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, and late-night host Bill Maher have recently lamented that political correctness has spoiled comedy. When Twitter mobs and outraged viewers pick up their pitchforks after every indelicate joke, they should keep one distinction in mind. There’s a difference between comedy that’s mean-spirited and comedy that pushes boundaries to make us question the way we see things.