Comedian JB Smoove on PC Culture: 'We Have to be Very Careful' or 'It's Going to Be Like a Wildfire'
Comedian and actor JB Smoove of Curb Your Enthusiasm warned that "everything is very PC right now" but society has to be "very careful" not to go too far with what's deemed unacceptable humor or "it's going to be like a wildfire."
During his latest Netflix special, Comedian Dave Chappelle lamented today's "cancel culture" and how comedians have to be careful not to offend certain groups of people with their routines. Smoove was asked if political correctness has changed the nature of his material over the last five years.
"It doesn't affect me personally, but I know what it is. I know what the animal is being someone who has been doing this a long time. Everything is very PC right now, but I think we have to be very careful in how we move forward with this whole 'you can't say what you want to say' because then it's going to end up focusing on specifics," Smoove, a former SNL writer, said during a recent interview after the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year annual gala.
"Suppose a big-name comedian wants to host SNL but his comedy, his stand-up is different, his stand-up is very opinionated – what do you do? Do you say no or do you still put him on the air and let him be the host? How do you gauge who gets to do that? If it's someone who is not as known as myself or these other big comedians – a new comic and you say the wrong thing on stage, are you going to be chastised for it?" he added.
Smoove pondered whether the general public might begin to "chastise" audience members for laughing at a certain joke during a recorded comedy show in the future.
"Are you going to chastise people who are laughing at it? In that case, you might as well go after everybody. We have to be very careful in how we move forward with what's acceptable as far as humor because that means if the camera is on a comedian on stage and he's saying something crazy and you spin the camera around and you see somebody laughing, is he going to lose his job for laughing at that?" Smoove said.
"We've got to be very careful with what we're building as far as what we are allowed to say. We have to very careful because it's going to start to steamroll and it's going to be like a wildfire -- if you turn around the camera and see who is laughing. You understand what I'm saying? Do you lose your job if you laugh at that? We've got to be very careful with what we're setting," he added.
Smoove, who was the emcee at the Boys and Girls Club's gala, encouraged more people to "invest" in the youth and support the Boys and Girls Club. He is working on building a new facility for the chapter in Mount Vernon, New York.
"Kids don't seem to have enough to do right now and that gets them in trouble -- that gets them going in the wrong direction and wasted years, wasted youth. You'd be surprised how fast time goes when you're doing nothing -- come to the Boys and Girls Club and you're building relationships with young people, with like-minds," Smoove said.