Netflix chiefs braced for a staffer walkout and rally in Los Angeles as anger mounts over the screening of a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that activists say is harmful to the transgender community.  (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

As Dave Chappelle fights culture abolition, 3 comedians say free speech will prevail over censorship

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Three comics separately said freedom of speech would prevail over a small, but audible group of culture warriors, who aim to censor comedians.

“Comedians just need to stop accepting all this noise, and they should just start telling jokes the way they want to,” New York comedian Tyler Fisher told Fox News. “You will never develop as an artist unless you cross the line.”

Comedians, such as Dave Chappelle, have been prominent targets of cancellation culture in recent years. Recently, First Avenue in Minneapolis canceled a Chappelle show that sold out hours before its scheduled time after the popular venue faced backlash from its staff and community over the comedian’s jokes about the transgender community.

“A lot of the credit goes to the way people interpret what you say or do as a comedian rather than your true intentions,” Los Angeles-based comedian Josh Denny told Fox News.

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Netflix chiefs braced for a staffer walkout and rally in Los Angeles as anger mounts over the screening of a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that activists say is harmful to the transgender community. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

“When places like First Avenue are getting up on the mob, that’s the risk,” Denny continued. “This tells all transgender people that what they think what Dave Chappelle says about them is true, which is not the case at all.”

The comedians told Fox News that they believe the people who aim to censor comedians represent a small, but very visible part of America.

“We just inflamed a very small minority of sensitive people and gave them superpowers,” Fisher said. “I don’t think America has become so sensitive.”

Denny similarly said, “People who want to censor comedy or scrap comedians who are lively, risk-taking and push the envelope, I think are a very organized, vocal minority of people. There’s really a shout out and I’m thinking about the re-emergence of audiences that don’t want political comedy.” anymore.”

New York stand-up comedian Chrissy Meyer told Fox News that censoring comedians is “the most selfish thing you can do.”

She said, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t like this comedian… I just don’t want to see them, but I want to make sure no one else can see them.'”

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Josh Denny, a comedian from Los Angeles, says America wants freedom of speech over censorship.  (Fox News Digital)

Josh Denny, a comedian from Los Angeles, says America wants freedom of speech over censorship. (Fox News Digital)

However, comedians have changed their jokes to align with changing societal norms throughout history, writes comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff.

“The tug of war between censorship and freedom of expression has been a part of comedy throughout its existence,” Nesterov wrote in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times. “It is likely to continue.”

Provide examples of 20th century comedians who were arrested or banned for their jokes.

However, Fisher said that modern cancel culture has censored his comedy for nearly a decade out of fear.

“I was afraid I’d kind of step outside of that, you know, I woke up the bubble,” he said.

More than 80% of adults surveyed in a February New York Times/Siena College poll said they felt it was a serious problem that some Americans would not exercise their freedom of expression for fear of reprisals or harsh criticism. A Morning Consult survey in April found that nearly a third of adults felt they could not speak freely on social media.

Tyler Fisher, a comedian from New York, says it was

Tyler Fisher, a comedian from New York, says he was “terrified” to break out of his “awakened bubble” in a comedy. (Fox News Digital)

Fisher also told Fox News that he saw a shift once he began to age President Biden and his low energy.

“I’ve been making fun of Donald Trump for four years,” he said while impersonating the former president. “And then I made fun of Biden, and they’re like, Oh, you’re on the far right.”

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“I’m making fun of those in power,” Fisher continued. “The left has gone so far that any kind of nuance, in the middle, that is uncensored is considered an extreme right.”

Media Research has identified more than 600 cases of social media users facing bans, restrictions, or deleted content due to posts critical of Biden between March 2020 and March 2022. A Morning Consult poll found that half of Republicans do not feel they can speak freely on social media. The media compared to less than 20% of Democrats.

“Now we have this almost religious campaign with the political parties about who’s right and who’s wrong,” Denny, who has held the vigil for 17 years, told Fox News.

Chrissy Meyer, a comedian from New York, says making fun of everyone is a big deal

Chrissy Meyer, a comedian from New York, says making fun of everyone is “real equality.” (Fox News Digital)

“Everyone has some trait, some sacred cow, they think it’s not okay to mock them,” Denny continued. “And that could be their politics, it could be their religious beliefs, and it could be any of those things.”

Denny, Fisher, and Meyer have argued that protecting certain groups can actually lead to more exclusion in comedy.

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“Real equality through comedy is all laughed at,” Meyer told Fox News.

“You can’t protect a certain group of people,” Fisher said. “They will actually end up feeling excluded and isolated.”

Dave Chappelle's Minneapolis show was canceled at the last minute after a backlash from the community over comments he made on the Netflix show,

Dave Chappelle’s Minneapolis show was canceled at the last minute after the community backlash over comments he made on the Netflix show, “The Closer.”
(Matthew Peyton/Netflix)

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Chappelle has faced frequent criticism for his jokes about the transgender community. His own Netflix movie, “The Closer,” prompted employees of the tech giant to come out in protest, although CEO Ted Sarandos defended the decision to provide Chappelle a platform.

“Comedy is the most comprehensive thing,” Fisher told Fox News. “You can’t start slowly dismissing topics and people you can’t joke about.”

“I’ll make fans or not depending on the type of content I do, but I’d rather take the turtle race to the end to make the kind of fans I want rather than just do what’s easy to please people,” Denny said.

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