Actor Dan Aykroyd has spoken out in favor of cancel culture in comedy, saying that material deemed offensive “should be rightly canceled” if it hurts other people’s feelings.
By his own standards, Aykroyd would have to renounce some of his most famous performances and their lucrative residuals. They include the 1983 movie Trading Places, in which he appears in black face, and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, in which he famously used the phrase “Jane, you ignorant slut” to demean a woman during the “Weekend Update” segment.
Dan Aykroyd made his comments about cancel culture in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“There is enough range in humor where you don’t have to go scatological and you don’t have to go pulling any divisive cards to get a laugh. There is so much in the world to comment on that is outside the realm of offensiveness,” he said.
As a writer, you can go to other areas and have successful creative endeavors. Scatological humor is fun. It’s easy laughs. But there is more intelligent writing that can happen if you stay away from the offensive material that should be rightly canceled for its hurtfulness. Who can be the subject of an impression today? That’s an area of discussion. Can I do my James Brown imitation? He was one of my best friends. I do his voice pretty good. But maybe I shouldn’t anymore.
Aykroyd’s position runs counter to a growing tide against cancel culture in the comedy field. Comedian Dave Chapelle has repeatedly defied left-wing cultural authoritarians who have attempted to torpedo his career for his jokes about transgenders and gays.
Comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and John Cleese have all spoken out against cancel culture’s toxic effects on stand-up.
Even Aykroyd’s Trading Places co-star Eddie Murphy has taken a stand against cancel culture, saying he shouldn’t have to apologize for past jokes.
Aykroyd’s pro-cancel culture stance comes as the star promotes his biggest Hollywood movie in years — Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which Sony opens in cinemas this month.