Earlier this year, comedic twins, the Lucas Bros. stopped by The Breakfast Club to promote Judas and the Black Messiah. While on-air, iconic radio host, Charlamagne Tha God, questioned the two on cancel culture. The brothers had a great take:
Charlamagne Tha God: “Will woke culture dilute the art?“
Lucas Bros: “No. You have to adjust and work around those parameters and make better comedy. It makes our comedy fresher, purer because you’re no longer punching down.”
Essentially, evolve with it. Life has constant changes so why would comedy be off-limits? Lucas Brothers held a great stance on the topic because it gives power to comedians – to transcend their art rather than blame an audience for opposing it.
“You gotta [sic] be inventive, be a bit more creative and clever…it’s incumbent on comedians to take this as a challenge. We’re assuming that audiences aren’t intelligent. We’re assuming they can’t differentiate between what’s offensive and what’s not offensive.“– Lucas Bros.
Vet comedians like Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle have made claims against “cancel culture” and its destruction (or accountability). Nonetheless, both were able to agree it’s done for the betterment of society.
America is widely known for freedom of speech as it is in the Constitution. However, there are legal limitations and the possibility of social rejection or denouncement. That is a part of the risks to public expression sometimes. Unfortunately, everyone does not have to agree with what is said. The changes in our social climate shows a turn in dynamics requires a turn in skills.
New age comics like Jaboukie Young-White, Ayo Edibiri, Ziwe, Rachel Sennott, and many more exemplify a fresher approach to comedy with well-informed, yet ingenious commentary on social and political topics. This generation is smarter, as each generation before can admit. It only makes sense for it to also reflect in the art. The essence to many jokes are a matter of truth and imagination. This has not changed in the comedic landscape.
Rather than make complaints about cancel culture and the so-called inability to express material, comics can rise to the challenge and develop new strategies to land jokes. One of the oldest phrases, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” comes in handy during these times. Older comics can learn to pivot into an ever-changing arena of comedy if they wish to last:
1.) Diverge perspective
2.) Add more wit into repertoire
3.) Elevate cultural competence, etc.
Advancements are limitless to the sport of comedy.
Seth Rogen recently revealed the nature of comedy does not intend for every joke to withstand the test of time. It seems some comedians believe they can’t be funny rather than they are no longer funny, which may be a bigger fear than possible backlash. But that is not a battle to take up with an audience.
Instead of debating cancel culture, maybe take the advice of the Lucas Bros. and create better material. Teenagers on TikTok can do it. There should be no limits with seasoned comics.