If you’re like me, then you love Jon Lovitz.
And if you’re like Jon Lovitz, then you hate cancel culture.
Speaking to Page Six, the comedian creamed the culture of cancellation.
The 63-year-old star of Saturday Night Live and a slew of films characterized his job as a humorist: to “satirize what’s going on in society and point out the hypocrisies.”
Cancel culture, he said, is an impedance.
In my opinion, he’s exactly right.
There was a time not long ago when a particular sentence societally thrived: “It was a joke.”
I’m not sure we have that anymore.
Over the last few years, America’s come down with a bad case of the Take Everything Seriouslys.
Once the sickness is deep, everything spoken has weight.
And comedy wasn’t made to be heavy.
That’s a cramp to the style of Mr. Lovitz.
But it sounds as if he may not acquiesce:
“As soon as you say to a comedian like me, ‘You can’t say that,’ the first thing in my head is, ‘Oh, and now I have to.'”
Jon pointed out that there’s “a difference between making jokes and being outright mean.”
Well, there certainly used to be.
Not everyone in the comedy world feels the same.
As covered by RedState’s Brandon Morse in May, actor Seth Rogen sounded off on such a thing:
“To me, when I see comedians complaining about this kind of thing, I don’t understand what they’re complaining about. If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it.”
And on The Joe Budden Podcast this month, sterling standup comedian Katt Williams surmised, “Cancellation doesn’t have its own culture.”
“Nobody likes the speed limit, but it’s necessary,” he said. “Nobody likes the shoulder of the road, but it’s there for a reason. … If these are the confines that keep you from doing the craft God put you to, then it probably ain’t for you.”
Using Katt’s analogy, it seems the speed limit’s slowed to relatively zero.
If you doubt it, watch these Norm Macdonald clips from SNL — a few years after Jon’s tenure — and ask yourself if any of them would air today:
Norm, of course, eventually got canceled. Literally:
Though Lovitz came to SNL from the improv world (he was a member of LA’s Groundlings comedy troupe), these days, he performs as a standup.
And he has advice for sensitive would-be audience members — in and out of the club:
“If you don’t have the ability to laugh at yourself, don’t go to a comedy club. I’m not changing my act. If you’re watching TV and you don’t like the show, change the channel. It’s very simple.”
Well, it may not be simple now, but it used to be.
These days, words are violence and spaces must be safe. Once the harm is done, it’s too late to turn the dial.
But if we can ever return to a less sensitive state, the laughs are waiting to be had.
And I can think of no one better to deliver them than Jon Lovitz.
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