Freedom of Speech via Comedy Made a Comeback in 2022, Can It Continue Into 2023?

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Another year is over and a new one has just begun. – John Lennon

With all due respect to the former Beatle from Liverpool, England, I can’t think of a better way to start off an article about one of the most important elements in our pop culture, comedy. This time of year, most people in some sort of media role always like to review the previous year and look ahead to the new one, and I’m not excluded from this. However, my focus generally centers around something that gives a good insight into how well the country is doing.


For me, that has always been comedy and for the past 10 years, the barometer I have used has been how brave comics feel to crack jokes and hurt people’s feelings. Just like facts, jokes do not care about your feelings, nor should the comics who tell them.

I know that might be unsettling to some. But that is okay, and also, I don’t care.

When somebody can take an everyday situation, make a humorous observation, and deliver a well-crafted line, it is genuinely a joy to sit back and laugh at it. We need more of that in this country today, and less of the cancel culture stemming from anything that slightly makes somebody’s eyes water–not from laughing but from crying from a hurt sense of self–directing how we act.

Thankfully, those of us here at RedState follow this topic also, and have written some great articles about this.

My colleague Jennifer Oliver O’Connell wrote this offering earlier this month, after seeing Greg Gutfeld talk on comedy in culture. “Greg Gutfeld Dissects Comedy and Culture at AmFest 2022.”  Some of what she wrote in her post above is below…

Kirk asked Gutfeld what drew people to his comedy program and The Five. Gutfeld said the secret to the chemistry of both programs’ lineup is the ribbing, the teasing, and that they can all make fun of themselves and each other.

“If you can’t make fun of somebody, and laugh at somebody, you have no chemistry. Dana [Perino], Jesse [Watters], and myself [The Five] Kat Timpf and Tyrus [Gutfeld!], are really well-oiled machines,” he said.

“This is what is killing the Left: if you take yourself seriously, no one wants to be around you. The right is used to being made fun of. You can’t make fun of them.”


Another colleague here at RedState, Jeff Charles had this offering in November, on how the progressive wing of the lunatic fringe helped stifle free thought via comedy. “WATCH: Comedian Lou Perez Explains How Progressive Politics Killed Comedy.” From that post…

After former President Donald Trump came onto the scene, comedians – especially on the left – appeared to believe their role in society had somehow changed. Perez describes how this brought on a paradigm shift that essentially murdered comedy as we know it. But he also predicts a resurgence in the medium, which is comforting.

The last part of Jeff’s guest’s observation is now also shared by moi, after worrying for the past couple of years that free speech and facts over feelings had been crushed. Now,I think I can see on the horizon, albeit far off, a bit of a resurgence.

Here are some reasons I feel more hopeful going into 2023, after 2022 is closing.

You might recall earlier this year that there were efforts to cancel Joe Rogan and get him booted off of his platform on Spotify. “Joe Rogan Laughs All the Way to the Bank as Reports Note Efforts to Cancel Spotify Failed Miserably.” Those efforts not only failed, but Rogan ended up being the most listened-to person on Spotify, and his show continues to grow. Part of the key to his show is that he has an incredibly curious mind but at his heart, he is a working comic which makes his show entertaining and informative–which has shown to be unbeatable.


Dave Chappelle continues to bulldoze his way to secure his spot on the Mount Rushmore of comedy after a blistering 2022, where he had taken on the transgender community and their demands that no one ever jokes about them–even though Chappelle hits every group with his humor. Dave is not shy from speaking his mind “Dave Chappelle Calls Protesters ‘Transgender Lunatics’,” and will even strike in the belly of the beast, as he did on SNL back in November. “Dave Chappelle Explains Trump’s Popularity to an SNL Crowd That Thinks He’s Joking.”

I could also list names like Bill Burr, Ricky Gervais, and even Bill Maher, as others who have shown–at least with free speech and comedy–they are willing to go against the political tide of groupthink and fight for free thinking humor and tell jokes that might offend.

Most of these comics are left of center and line up more with Bill Maher, than they do with most of the writers here at Red State and myself personally. However, on an issue that is incredibly important for the lifeblood of this nation, which is that people be allowed to think and then speak freely, I will line up with any of these people on this issue for this noble cause.

Now that Elon Musk has freed Twitter and shown that the conspiracy theories of shadow-banning and outright blocking based on political ideology were true, 2023 has the potential to push back on the tide of progressive sewage that has washed up on America’s shores in the past decade.


I have a feeling it will be funny to watch and participate in, if you are not a feelings-over-facts type.

If your feelings were hurt by this article, make sure to contact me at my BIO below and let me know. If you don’t care about feelings, make sure to follow me with the social media links in my BIO–and we can chuckle at these people together.


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