Political Correctness Doesn’t Censor, It Keeps Comedy Fresh

I think you can make jokes about anything.
But you have to accept that there will be people who don’t like it. And they are completely
within their rights just as you are completely within your rights to say whatever you want
to say. They’re within their rights to react how they’re going to react. So you can’t
be surprised or insulted if someone doesn’t like a thing you said that is a, you know,
you’re making jokes on a controversial topic. I think there’s a lot of people who court
that and they want that because it’s attention – it gets more eyeballs on them and what
they’re doing. But there’s some people who do feign outrage at this or they’re
genuinely feeling like how dare you tell me what I can and cannot joke about. But I would
say in most cases audiences are not telling them you can’t joke about this. What they’re
saying is that wasn’t funny. And that’s a different thing. I think you can talk about
any topic and I think you can make any topic funny. It depends on what your point is and
where you’re coming from. Audiences always know. They always know. And if you have a
sound point that you’re making and it’s well thought out and it’s well-crafted you
can make me laugh at a thing that I think is tragic. You can make me laugh at a thing
that I think is horrific. You can make me laugh at a thing that affects me personally.
But if you’ve done your homework and you’ve gone about it the right way it will still
be funny. But it’s when people do I think a lazy job
at something. They’re not trying as hard as they could. Or they really are just courting
outrage. That’s when audiences say that wasn’t funny. But I think it’s so rare,
it’s so rare that anyone says you’re not allowed to joke about that. Tastes change
over the years and so topics that were routinely joked about years ago that might affect certain
people, maybe it’s something that happened to someone and we throw a word around because
it’s a shocking punchline and it’s good for a laugh. But is it worth it? And over
time people who are tired of being ashamed because a thing happened to them they vote
with their silence or they say that’s not funny. And I think that comedians have to
recognize that humor evolves and times change and you can’t stay stuck in the same place
for too long because then you’re irrelevant. And so it’s very easy to say oh people are
too uptight now. They’re too uptight. But the fact of the matter is these people are
the people of today and you might be a person of yesterday if you can’t adjust and you
can’t be in tune with what people think is funny anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever
said anything where an audience turned on me in that way. I’ve said things that now
I wish I hadn’t said because times have changed and like the me of 15-20 years ago
made a joke that I wouldn’t make today because I – just because I look at the world differently
now, you know. And because the world is different now. And, you know, it’s all part of a maturation
process I think for everybody. And I’m of the school that says adapt or die, you know.
And so if this is not a thing that we joke about anymore I’m going to find something
else to joke about. Or I’m going to be better at handling these subjects so that people
know what my intent is. My intent is not to mock the victim here. It’s not to mock the
little person. I’m ridiculing something that is worthy of ridicule and that every
word out of my mouth is worth the same. And just not to be cheap I think is a tiny thing
but it’s kind of important.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Look up Slavoj Zizek (who is an actual Marxist), and watch his videos on political correctness. Quite the opposite of this video.

  2. totally ignoring/misrepresenting the issue. What you're talking about is jokes bombing in the audience. That isn't PC, PC is people, mostly a select few in the media (not the audience), trying to destroy someone over their jokes (or rude wording) in a fascistic manner.

  3. "You can make jokes about anything but you have to accept the fact that there will be people who won't like it"

    Yeah, no shit sherlock. You can't please everyone. And if people can make jokes about anything, let 'em.

  4. I wonder if Paul Tompkins has ever tried to be funny. He didn't try in this video and I've never seen him crack a joke in his handful of panel show appearances. How is this dude a comedian?

  5. SIGH, this guy is a moron, and he has NEVER made me laugh, dont know how TOMPKINS can call himself a comedian. My GOD, my kidney failure is funnier than that guy

  6. Who the fuck is Paul F. Tompkins? As a comedy buff, I don't remember ever having seen him before. I think that says something about the success of his comedic philosophy, and that's very telling.

  7. This is very well reasoned, except for the part where he says "it's rare that anyone says you can't joke about something." I've been in college and if I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone say, "it's never ok to joke about rape," all my student loans would probably be paid.

  8. What a load of absolute liberal garbage nonsense . Next thing you know they'll try to convince us PC is making movies better, liberalism is truly a cult and a mental illness.

  9. is anyone in the comments an actual comedian? like have any of you guys ever done a set in front of a live audience?? or are you just applying what PFT said to your daily shitposts online and dead comedians that Paul is also a fan of, probably

  10. paul f tompkins is one of my favorite comedians and it warms my heart to see so many internet randos shit on him

  11. "This video offends me, I demand that it be removed"

    The number of times this "joke" has been made in the comment section by the anti-PC crowd is the strongest evidence I've seen for this video's driving point.

    If this is what we can expect from the anti-PC crowd, audiences need to force them to come up with more creative material.

  12. Being told not to joke about specific things is exponentially more common in recent years. Even when this was published, it was significantly worse. It's almost as if that was a direct response to having heard people complaining quite frequently about being told what not to say.

  13. It's so funny to me that when Joe Comedian says, for instance, "haha women are the worst amirite?" it's hilarious free speech, but when women say "haha Joe Comedian is the worst amirite?" it's censorship and oppression and PC culture run amok etc etc. And by "funny" I mean "transparent and pathetic". Honestly, standups these days are such snowflakes (◡ ‿ ◡ ✿)

  14. "PC doesn't censor comedy, it makes me tell it in a different way!"

    You're an idiot. That's what censoring is. You made some alright points, but please change the title at least.

  15. Political Correctness was invented by Mao Zedong as a means to police people's thoughts and words. He used it as an excuse to butcher anyone who spoke against him or Communism. If you include the people who starved to death because of his incompetence, Mao ended up murdering 78 million Chinese citizens by the end of his reign in 1976. Making Hitler's murder dick seem puny and inadequate by comparison. Does that really sound like someone we should be taking sociopolitical pointers from!?

  16. "Oprah wants to have a fat philosophy and a skinny philosophy." – Paul F Tompkins


  17. Compulsory phoniness doesn't make anything fresh. NO FUN HAVING! That's the call of the progressives (said in a fake German accent while displaying a Nazi salute, of course).

  18. I don't like what you are saying in this video, you shouldn't be allowed to tell people what they can or cannot say or think. if you think you can censor my speech, I will do all I can to censor yours because what you stand for is against my beliefs. Do you get it? your own movement can and will be used against you!

  19. It's true: People can say whatever they want, other people can criticize them for what they say, and they can criticize them back, etc. The problem that lies with this is when people do actually say "You're not allowed to joke about this". Like the vice article condemning childish gambino's "this is america" memes. You're totally within your right to say "that's not funny", you have no right to say "you can't say that" or try to censor them. I assume that this guy thinks that political correctness in comedy provides some sort of cathartic skepticism to a completely subjective art form, but I've seen political correctness in comedy as nothing more than an antithesis to comedy.

  20. Yes, it absolutely DOES censor. Jesus, you're fucking dense. Look at that dislike ratio, Big Think. Look at it and realize that this is not the hill you want to die on.

  21. Greetings comedian I've never heard of. So much for every word out of your mouth being worth saying. Seriously you can't tell a joke about something if someone somewhere was hurt by it? So you can never tell a political joke. Or a historical joke. Or a dating joke. Oh no wait the video is titled political correctness. Depending on if you agree or didn't know they would call it that,  I think I found your loophole. Making jokes about Trump ok. Hilary sexist? Is that what you mean? Making jokes about whites o.k. blacks racist. Is that what you mean? If the answer is yes you didn't adapt, you died. Rest in peace comedy.

  22. You are sooooo "punk" I'm sure the religious church would love you XD The status quo changed, the liberal agenda is the mainstream, no longer the conservative, so humor started taking jabs at uber liberals. You turned into those "hip" conservatives rapping because you want connect with the kids.

  23. His stand up is like listening to a middle school teacher lecture. So hokey and boring. good voice for cartoons though.

  24. If people are silent, that isn't a problem. The problem is when most laugh and a few get so upset they harass the comedian. Especially when you see a great gig live where almost everyone is laughing and than some lunatic feminist starts complaining months later after hearing a soundbite from it online.

  25. 3000 people upvoted this? Oh wow. I know 6000 plus downvoted it but there alot of people that like political correctness and that disturbs me. I just hope they don't take up comedy or politics.


  27. Paul F Tompkins, one of the best comics out there right now and a fantastic point: "these are the people of today." If you're going to be a lumberjack, you'd better follow the trees.

  28. He is exactly right. It's not the topic, it's what you do with it – and mostly when comedians go, "Oh, people are so politically correct!" what it really comes down to is that their jokes are lazy and reliant on old stereotypes or shock value that was stale thirty years ago.

  29. I was actually afraid of clicking on this video since I am very anti-PC and have a very dark sense of humor, but he makes a very good point. I'm not saying I'm opposing him otherwise, I'm saying I didn't think political correctness could be thought of in such a way.

  30. The only joke that's offensive, is an insensitive and poorly structured one. One tip I have for future comedians before making any edgy joke is to figure out how to bring out the satire. Who does your joke, make laugh? Is it sexists, racists, transphobes, homophobes? And who/what is the butt of your joke? Is it an already oppressed community? Are you picking out just one quirk/playing on a stereotype or proving the stereotype true?

  31. It seems untrue to claim that audiences always know if a joke is coming from a place of hatred or not, after all if that were the case there would be no controversy about comedians in the first place. If people can argue that Ricky Gervais is transphobic for his monologue at the 2016 Golden Globes then Audiences clearly do not know. People find stuff offensive (largely) by how they are socialized. If PC culture originated at colleges, who in the 90s finally gave in by creating speech codes, which prohibit what one can say by labeling it hate speech, and once they leave colleges they realize they cant blackmail someone by threatening them with expulsion or action by the university board, they will do the next best thing: try to hurt them financially by shaming those who find these speakers compelling or in the case of comedians funny. Usually I would say that a joke bombs if its bad, but since we do not live in a free market of ideas, a joke bombing can often be interchanged with people have been socialized into being offended or are being shamed into pretending they do not like the joke (silence).

  32. the inevitable implosion of you censorship will cause you all to eat each other alive because there are people waiting for you to fuck up then that becomes a movement and then those others will begin the same revolution until it caves and chaos erupts… you idiots.

  33. I didn't know I could love PFT any more than I could, but somehow this video does. Not even going to bother scrolling down to see how many commenters willfully miss the point.

  34. Uhm, no, its called self-control, Paul. If you don't like a comedian's material… you get up and leave. That's the only option, not "OH U JUST DEAL WITH HOW THEY REACT AND ITS THEIR RIGHT." No. Stop. That's nonsense. This is a comedy club. Either laugh and drink, or GTFO.

  35. Did you hear the one about the alt right white cis christians that identified as male?
    Trump is Hitler.
    I'll be here all week!

  36. Paul is a congenital idiot/has been trained to be this adept at stupid…

    *OR* Is there an ongoing political agenda of tyrannically imposed collective thinking with conformity under compulsion by authoritarian Marxists at work here?

    Answers on a postcard to….

  37. Acclaimed comedy writer and actor who probably knows what he's talking about: "You can make anything funny, you just have to, you know, put in effort and thought and work."

    A bunch of fucking fragile broflakes in the comments: "FUCK YOU! I JUST WANT TO SAY SLURS AND MAKE FUN OF WOMEN WHO GET RAPED! YOU FUCKING SJW CUCKLORD!"

  38. If you really think people not finding your jokes funny is an affront to your freedom of speech, I implore you to re-read the First Amendment with fresh eyes. Please! Point to the part where it says that people have to laugh at your jokes!

  39. Think Small now making comedy unable to be funny.. How about letting peoples subjectives views be their views are stop your mind control

  40. oh get the fock of your high horse. Anything can be funny, that is how we deal with tragedy of life and you serious fockers are making it harder for anyone. Go cry in your bathroom

  41. This is genius and I love this guy!!! Supported by Raphael Bob Waksberg and this is Mr. Peanutbutter:)
    Watch Bojack if you want to see hilarious hilarious moments with comedy that doesn't "punch down."

  42. He's talking too vaguely. And they arent saying you can't, they also are not saying that's not funny. They are saying you shouldn't. Far too easily.

  43. The transcript is wrong, Paul says "…and that every word out of my mouth is worth SAYING." but the transcript says "worth the same." which makes no sense. Would be great if Big Think would fix that.

  44. I'm going out on a limb here and saying that the 7,000 dislikes are from a bunch of asshurt white guy who read the title and voted based on that alone.

    Buncha fuckin' snowflakes.

  45. paul f tompkins: i think you can make "non pc" jokes but you have to be an actual comedian and make it actually funny

    yall: oh so its 1984? so you dont believe in free speech? so i cant just use slurs and expect a laugh anymore? so im the victim in this? yknow, george orwell,

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