Woke USA Today gives unfunny lecture on modern comedy

When historians reflect on the current state of free speech in America, they come away with two distinct impressions.

  • It was a terrible stain on the heritage of a great country
  • Mainstream media played a central role in the decline of speech

This is never truer than when it comes to comedy. Mainstream journalists alternately empower Cancel Culture or question its existence.

They team up against comics like Ricky Gervais, Dave Chappelle, and others who defy Cancel Culture rumbles or just follow the funny wherever it leads.

The stories are obvious. Journalists either put scary quotes around the term Cancel Culture, or they preface it with “so-called.”

The real proof is in the news, and USA Today offers a prime example.


The liberal media published a series on comedy in the modern age. The funniest part? One segment explores the role of “stereotypes” in comedy, but the overall project smacks of progressive stereotypes tied to modern humor.

  • “Up/Down Punch”
  • “Marginalized Communities”
  • “Speaking truth to power”

The article summarizing the series is typical of the approach.

“To stay with the times and celebrate more voices, of course, (comedy) needs to be updated,” author and comedian Phoebe Robinson told USA TODAY. While there are “great foundational aspects to comedy,” she says, it’s important to “not rely on what worked before and push the genre further.”

Yes, let’s reject the groundbreaking work of Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce for the wit and wisdom of Phoebe Robinson.


Instead, let’s look at Hannah Gadsby and other woke comedians, the kind who deliver TED Talks that rarely make people laugh.

USA Today has researched the subject extensively – “We spoke to dozens of comedians and industry experts to find out where comedy stands today.”

However, no voice vehemently disagreed with the newspaper’s thesis. Odd.

Where is Tyler Fischer? Ryan Long? Dave Chappelle? Bill Burr? Rob Schneider? Steven Crowder? David Landau? Chrissie Mayer? Antoine Cumia? Andrew Schulz? Nick DiPaolo?

We get canned quotes from Rowan Atkinson denouncing cancel culture and acknowledging that comedy still has a purpose. And Shane Gillis, fired from “Saturday Night Live” for offensive Asian jokes, is also cited.

That’s as much balance as USA Today can offer. In its place, we learn that comedy must “evolve.”

We never hear how comedians today treat the Biden administration with care, avoiding harsh jokes about it until the media gives them the “it’s all clear” sign. He also doesn’t mention that cruel comedy is perfectly acceptable if the targets are on the right.

It is speaking “truth to power”, as our biased press sees it.

USA Today is not alone in this mindset. TheWrap.com, supposedly a site covering creative expression, encouraged Cancel Culture with a series of videos last year.

The credibility of journalism is plummeting, and for good reason. Series like the USA Today comedy showcase don’t help much.

Angela C. Hale