The World is Changing, Comics Like Louis CK Just Can't Grasp That Reality

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'To aging male comedians, being left in the past seems intolerable'. They're regressive and they're just mean now.

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap.”

Did you find that hilarious? Are you currently overcome with mirth, just about to die laughing? No? Well, Ancient Sumerians did. That’s thought to be the world’s oldest recorded joke, from 1900 BCE . If you find it more perplexing than funny, it’s probably because comedy evolves with the times.

Which is going to come as news to Louis C.K. who is currently in a process of transforming from a very funny man to the living embodiment of the Out of Touch Principal Skinner meme.

To recap: Louis C.K. masturbated in front of a number of female comedians who would really have preferred he not do so. In a statement in response, he claimed “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” That long time lasted about nine months and, in his new set, he’s been recorded making fun of transgender people’s request for proper pronouns (“They’re just boring. F*cking telling me you shouldn’t say that. What are you an old lady?”) and the teenage survivors whose friends died at the Parkland massacre (“You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid out of the way, and now I gotta listen to you talking?”).

Punching down at people who have already been through a lot is pretty much the only basis for right wing comedy, so it’s not like Louis C.K. is doing something new here. Milo Yiannopolous tried this and he’s…. widely reviled and apparently $2 million in debt, so maybe it wasn’t a great strategy.

It is disappointing, because a lot of Louis C.K.’s material was forward looking and extremely vulnerable. He was, once, very funny, and it’s a shame that he’s rebranded this way.

I’m not going to call for the censorship of comedy I don’t like, but neither am I going to merrily applaud for every shitty joke so that old men can continue to live in a safe space where they believe that their every utterance is a source of universal delight. I think most of us would prefer to treat bits like Louis C.K.’s as we might a pile of dog sh*t—glancing at it with some displeasure, stepping around it, and then going on our way, hopefully forgetting about it entirely and leaving it in the past. ...
Read full article at Harper's Bazaar

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