VICE News on HBO ran a segment about the growing number of comedians who will not play college campuses because leftists can’t take a joke.
It’s been several years since comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock announced that they would no longer play college campuses due to the rising sensitivity levels of students. Now, VICE News host Michael C. Moynihan spoke with three university bookers who claim that restrictions on campus comedy content are at an all-time high — and with good purpose.
“The kids that I’m programming for are not cis-het dudes. And we intentionally program towards that,” Kat Michael, the program booker for Simmons College said. Michael went on to explain that certain jokes about transgenderism and sexual assault could lead to a performer’s microphone being turned off. Additionally, it could lead to the comedian not being paid for their performance.
“What a comedian does on our campus is not the same as what they would do at the open mic at the bar a few hours later,” Jason Meier, the program booker for Emerson College. Meier explained that content restriction policies are imposed on campus comedians because students might have a negative response to offensive jokes.
“I would never book a comic that has made jokes about sexual assault because I know a lot of my students have experienced it,” Katy Hamm, the program booker for Lesley University, told Moynihan.
Popular comic Judy Gold offered Moynihan a different perspective. She argued that comics “can do a joke about anything as long as the jokes are funny.” Moynihan, playing devil’s advocate, asked Gold about the effects of rape and sexual assault jokes, which could theoretically re-traumatize some audience members. Those audience members can “get up and leave,” Gold said. “Why is it that everyone has to adjust to everyone else?”
“The joke is not about you. You need to learn how to be in this world. The world does not need to adjust for you. So figure that out,” Gold added when asked about offensive jokes about LGBTQ persons. “This idea that words are more harmful than actions…Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor is rolling over in his grave. You don’t tell a comic what topics they can discuss on stage.”