Nolte: ‘Office’ Co-Creator Stephen Merchant Blasts Left for Policing Jokes

Stephen Merchant and John Krasinski of "Dream Corp LLC" pose at New York Comic C
Paul Zimmerman/Getty for Turner

Writer and actor Stephen Merchant is blasting the left for policing jokes.

In a recent interview with Observer magazine, Merchant said:

“There’s always been policing of comedy, of there being… guardrails.  The difference is that it used to feel like it was the Right that was policing it. It feels like it’s the Left that’s doing it now, and it’s allowed the Right to become the arbiters of free speech. Which does feel like quite a significant shift.”

“I’ve noticed it in stand-up, how you’re more cautious because you don’t want to spend weeks on Twitter trying to justify a joke you were just experimenting with. Because putting out the fires is exhausting.”

He added, “Everything else is off limits, which is a hard thing to navigate when you’re trying to be creative.”

Merchant is more than just a writer. He and Ricky Gervais co-created, co-wrote, and co-directed two of the greatest sitcoms in history: the original British version of The Office and Extras. Of The Office, Merchant spoke the obvious: “I mean now [The Office] would be canceled. I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it.”

He said that if The Office is canceled today, that’s okay with him: “Good, let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!”

The Office premiered all the way back in 2001 and was already very much premised on our culture’s over-sensitivity. Same with Extras, which premiered in 2005. In The Office, star Gervais played the legendary David Brent, an awkward, egotistical, inappropriate, but still sympathetic character who constantly says the wrong things about race, gender, and everything else. In Extras, most of those hilarious moments were handled by Gervais’s co-star, the brilliant Ashley Jensen.

There is no way those shows could be made today, which is why I own hard copies on DVD. And Merchant is not engaging in hyperbole about a show being retroactively canceled. Four years ago, the fascist and far-left BBC stopped airing a classic 1975 episode of John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms ever made.

“The episode contains racial slurs, so we are taking the episode down while we review it,” BBC’s Woke Word Police explained. “We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations, and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language. Some shows carry warnings, and others are edited.”

The “outdated language” ridiculed racism.

The left’s larger agenda behind all this is to keep us divided. When we laugh at ourselves, we come together. When we ridicule our flaws and stereotypes, this creates a common culture. That is anathema to the left. Even though they reveled in insensitivity and truth, no one ever walked out of a Richard Pryor or George Carlin stand-up act angry. You never read about fist fights or riots at a stand-up show. Humor and laughter are unifying, which goes against everything the left needs to pursue their fascist social and political policies.

When the political right tried and failed to police entertainment, it was for an entirely different reason. Agree or not, the right wanted to keep our culture from becoming overly crass. I’m not in favor of any kind of censorship, but I sympathize with that goal.

There’s nothing noble in the left’s policing of speech and jokes. Their goal is demonic, dangerous, and all about enslaving our minds into the Borg Collective.

John Nolte’s first and last novel, Borrowed Time, is winning five-star raves from everyday readers. You can read an excerpt here and an in-depth review here. Also available in hardcover and on Kindle and Audiobook


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