Louis CK is in the news again, and no, it doesn’t involve his penis. He performed a set, which an audience member at the club recorded and uploaded to Youtube, which is great news to those with a sense of humor, and even better news to the disingenuous, pearl-clutching opportunists within modern progressive circles who don’t seem to understand how jokes work.
The 50 minute set consisted of exactly what you’d expect if you were even remotely familiar with Louis CK’s comedy. It’s bitter, pessimistic, edgy, and “inappropriate”. It’s also quite hilarious at times, at least to those who aren’t in the perpetually-offended camp.
As to be expected though, the journalist activists of the world saw a perfect opportunity to showboat just how righteous and virtuous they are, while managing to come across as even more puritan than the conservative Christians who picket Marilyn Manson concerts.
As of writing this, the following articles have been expediently vomited out for clicks:
Slate: Louis The Reactionary (originally titled: Leaked Louis Ck Comedy Act is Not Even Funny)
Slate: It’s Like Louis CK Is Not Even Trying To Win Back His Audience (originally titled Louis CK’s New Stand Up Material Is Angry and Bigoted)
Boston Globe: Louis CK’s Spectacular Return to Unfunny
CNN: Louis CK’s Parkland Joke Is What Happens When Comedy Fails. (hot take alert)
Out Magazine: Louis CK Is Just Fully Doing Transphobic Comedy Now
Harpers Bazaar: Why Can’t Men Like Louis CK Accept Their Ideas Are Outdated
What’s the running theme between all these articles? All of them were written by people who aren’t fans of Louis CK’s comedy who also can’t seem to comprehend that they aren’t entitled to personal apologies for things that didn’t involve them, or jokes catered to their personal sensibilities.
These people aren’t Louis CK’s target demographic. Their opinions hold absolutely no weight with anyone who actually is a fan, and looking for a nuanced critique. It’s like caring what an 87-year-old white guy from Tennessee thinks about Hip Hop music. These activist types like applause-break comedy. Their brand of comedy is someone making a joke about how orange Donald Trump is, to which a crowd obediently claps and hoots in unison. They like jokes that appeal to Boomers who drive Priuses with Obama bumper stickers, and there’s absolutely nothing edgy about anyone driving a Prius with an Obama bumper sticker. Louis CK obviously isn’t going to appeal to these types. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
So who was coming out in defense of Louis CK’s jokes? Actual comedians. The ones who write jokes for a living and understand that comedy is subjective. The ones who understand that you can make a joke about pronouns without it being “transphobic” (see Out Magazine article). The ones who realize you can make jokes about race without it being “bigoted” (see most of the above articles). The ones who aren’t in the business of writing disingenuous, agenda-driven articles to further their own pathetic careers.
The fact of the matter is that there’s a bit of a problem currently with progressive types who feel entitled to destroying and silencing people because they disagree with them in some manner. Most of the publications that publish these types of articles are largely staffed by, and cater to people who fit this definition. Activists who fancy themselves journalists, who write for people incapable of thinking for themselves, prone to mob-like behavior.
The inconvenient truth is that the people who become incensed by jokes are a very vocal minority, despite the fact that they feel they speak for all of society. The leaked Louis set already has over a million views in a few days, and the guy will literally be able to sell out venues when he has a new act ready. That is, unless the outrage mobs are successful in deplatforming him. You can not like the guy, and not find him funny, but that doesn’t change the fact that plenty of people do like his comedy.
The perpetually offended will merely find a new target to direct their ire at. They always do. They operate on the same level as goldfish. The second anyone else in the public eye slips up and does something the cult deems wrong-think, there will be a new batch of hastily written articles for easy clicks and ad-revenue, as they completely forget what and who they were angry about previously. The cycle will continue in perpetuity.
These types of people tend to exhibit an almost comedic level of denial about their own implicit authoritarian tendencies. They feel that people should be banned for saying things, wearing things, thinking things, enjoying things, even joking about things they don’t agree with. They are more than happy to make appeals to authority to meet their goals of ridding the world of things they don’t personally agree with, all the while making pathetic excuses to justify their shitty behavior. You see this a lot with job lynch mobs and collective efforts to de-platform people. Joke policing is just another branch of this authoritarianism.
The argument you’ll likely receive upon calling out these authoritarian tendencies it something like “freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences”. Ok. What consequences are we talking about here? Your being angry and voicing your dislike of a comedian is perfectly fine. You are entitled to an opinion. Your engaging in concerted efforts to prevent someone from performing or having a platform isn’t protected by a Constitutional amendment however. It’s just douche bag behavior.
“What are you talking about. *drool* Nobody is preventing anyone from performing. *fart* Don’t be crazy.”
In response to this all too common trite response, I would probably bring up the following case. In December, Nimesh Patel was prevented from performing at Columbia University. Prevented, as in his performance was literally stopped, and he was asked to leave the stage because certain children in the crowd felt offended by the content of his jokes. In this case, people’s opinions weren’t merely expressed in response to his content, but he was prevented from doing his job due to a repressive appeal to authority. Should we even bother postulating on the political leanings of the guilty parties?
Colleges have become the canaries in the coalmine for society’s continued downward trajectory towards censorious authoritarianism. Comedians regularly have to deal with deciding to either sign “behavioral agreements” (actual things) , which dictate exactly what topics they are allowed to cover, or merely decide to not play campuses. Most comedians tend to opt for the latter, and have stopped performing at college campuses altogether.
As Chris Rock put it:
“…I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative. Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.”
Unfortunately, the kids raised in these safe space environments grow up to be safe space adults who then write articles language policing everybody. Hence the 2 dozen articles chastising Louis CK for topics he chose to make jokes about, or arguing whether he’s allowed to make jokes at all. Every single one of these authors could have just as easily not listened to his set and gone about their lives. They all had that choice. But obviously, they wouldn’t have then had the opportunity to write self-righteous stink pieces.
We also need to address the issue of why Louis CK in particular is the target of these people’s ire.
Louis CK had a habit of masturbating in front of women. He did so consensually despite what all the hit pieces desperately trying to paint him as Bill Cosby 2.0 would like you to believe. Because consensual masturbation and outright rape are the exact same thing if we employ the brilliant logic of current year brains. Keep in mind, Sarah Silverman actually came out and said Louis masturbated in front of her and that she liked it, which she was then pressured into apologizing for because it tainted the victimization/predatory narrative that was being pushed.
The general consensus was then adopted that the acts were still inappropriate because Louis CK was in a position power, and ladies would have been less likely to say no since he was the guy who wrote and directed the Oscar award winning film Pootie Tang.
Regardless, he eventually apologized for his actions in a written statement, and had apparently already apologized in the past to the other people involved. Predictably, this hasn’t stopped the disingenuous types from continuing to paint Louis CK in the same light as a Harvey Weinstein. Never let a false equivalency get in the way of one’s activism.
These disingenuous comparisons are necessary however. They allow these self-righteous types to completely ignore the fact that Louis had already apologized to those he needed to make amends with. As touched upon earlier, these types of people feel entitled to personal atonement. They can’t grasp that if person A wrongs person B, person C, who was not part of the equation, is not entitled to any sort of apology. Louis CK hasn’t groveled to them personally and been granted their forgiveness, therefore he is still a sinner in their eyes. If the Church of Progressive Activism, hasn’t pardoned him, he still has to do time. It’s all very ideologically driven.
You start to realize this when you actually engage individuals who think this way. People had a problem with his return to stage in late August of last year. “He hasn’t taken enough time off” was a common refrain. Because an arbitrary passage of time obviously changes things. We already established that he had both apologized publicly, and to those he had apparently wronged. So what is the problem here? Why are these people still upset? Once again, they feel entitled to a personal apology for transgressions that didn’t even involve them. Grovel at the feet of the God of Entitlement for forgiveness.
If you don’t find a comedians brand of humor funny, fine. Move on. I find Michelle Wolf about as funny as childhood cancer, but it’s never crossed my mind to write an entire article chock full of butt-hurt over her. I’m also not an entitled 23 year-old recent college graduate writing articles for click-bait trash media, so maybe I’m just out of touch.
It’s painfully obviously that many of these articles ultimately aren’t about the jokes. They’re very thinly-veiled attempts at trying to ruin someone whom the authors feel needs to be destroyed. People deeply invested in the #MeToo movement (most of these articles were written by left-leaning millennial women) see Louis CK’s inappropriate jokes as the perfect scapegoat to try to convince society that’s he’s an evil force who needs to be excommunicated. The jokes are just a convenient red herring for writing an article condemning him as a person and to attack his character.
“[These kids] are just boring. Fucking telling us ‘you shouldn’t say that’. What are you, an old lady? What the fuck are you doing? ‘That’s not appropriate.’ Fuck you, you’re a child. Why aren’t you finger fucking each other and doing jello shots?”
If Patton Oswalt had gotten on stage at a comedy club and delivered a joke of this type, there wouldn’t be countless articles written condemning him, and attempts to de-platform him. Perhaps a few angry tweets would have been penned before people moved on. Patton Oswalt also hasn’t had a #MeToo moment (yet). This is about activism, not jokes.
Keep in mind that this type of joke isn’t new for Louis CK. He’s been delivering material in this vein for the last decade. None of these people saw fit to write articles about his content until after he became a pariah. There is a very clear line in the sand between the pre-MeToo and post-MeToo eras, and the existence of articles seemingly taking issue with the content of his material.
If you’re writing disingenuous hit pieces calling out his comedy because you have an ulterior motive, at least be honest about your intentions. Be honest about that fact that you don’t feel he should have a platform any more, regardless of what topics he chooses to cover in his comedy. Because it’s obvious this whole concerted media effort isn’t really about his making a few edgy jokes about school shootings.
Whether Louis CK gets blacklisted from comedy clubs or not due to this mob mentality isn’t the biggest issue here. The dishonest focus on the content of his jokes as a means to de-platform him for completely different reasons just serves to usher in further authoritarianism. Now, the next comic who gets up on stage is beholden to this over-reaching joke policing. Clubs will be less likely to let any “edgy” comics perform, because they don’t want to deal with the inevitable wave of puritan mobs. We’ll be living in a world of knock-knock jokes before we know it. Vomit.
The great irony here is that Authoritarianism is illiberal by definition, meaning the liberals so prone to authoritarianism aren’t liberal by definition, despite the fact that they continue to view and label themselves as liberal. They are essentially puritans without those pesky religious beliefs.
puritan (noun): someone who has strict moral or religious principles, and does not approve of pleasure, for example in sexual activity, entertainment, or eating and drinking.
They justify this puritanism with weak morality arguments. It’s “not nice” to joke about this, “it’s inappropriate” to joke about that. Comedy should always be squeaky clean and “appropriate” to a puritan. They then make the assertion that all of society is in tune with their personal views and tastes to justify said puritanism, like this micro-brain:
Translation: I’m fine with deplatforming this individual because they don’t think like I do. They don’t have the same sense of humor I do. This person’s beliefs are not “universal”, i.e. they don’t believe the same things I personally believe, therefore fuck ’em, they shouldn’t have the same rights.
MY, HOW LIBERAL.
liberal (adjective): open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
These delusional junior authoritarians are unfortunately a dime a dozen on twitter. Roughly half the non-ironic #Resistance crowd (the above account included) are cut from this cloth. Because #Resisting evidently entails constantly accusing others of being authoritarian and controlling, all the while attempting to exert your own authoritarianism and control over people. How enlightened, rational, and not ironic in the least bit.
Exactly how entitled does a human being have to be to feel that only things that either a) represent their only sensibilities, or b) they personally find funny/entertaining have a right to exist. Very entitled is the correct answer. Astonishingly entitled.
As a final point, you can’t use your own personal morality as an argument as to whether something should be allowed. Keep in mind that whatever you personally believe, there is someone out there who believes the exact opposite. Neither one of you thinks you’re wrong and the other one is right. You’re in an eternal morality stalemate. To use a Stefan Molyneux meme: morality is “not an argument”.
People who are against gays use morality arguments. People who think marijuana should be illegal employ morality arguments. People who engaged in genocides used morality arguments to justify those acts. A morality argument can be made for anything, regardless of how heinous, including deplatforming people. If your whole argument is predicated on your morality being more moral than someone else’s morality, you don’t really have much of an argument, do you?
Stop trying to deplatform people over jokes, you dipshits.