For Millennials. By Millennials.
It’s been a while since the entire Chris D’Elia fiasco occurred. In a recent interview with Marlow Stern from The Daily Beast, Whitney Cummings finally opened up about her thoughts on cancel culture and canceled comedians, such as Louis C.K. and her former colleague, Chris D’Elia. Here’s what the comedian/filmmaker had to say.
Cummings talks about Twitter “cancel culture”
During the interview, Stern brought up how she doesn’t believe getting called out on Twitter is the same as getting “canceled”. Moreover, she also brought up how Louis C.K., despite being canceled, still works at comedy clubs. So, has anyone got “canceled” who didn’t deserve it? To that, Whitney Cummings said:
Something that fascinates me about Twitter and cancel culture is, I was at the Twitter offices for some reason and reading statistics about it, and 22 percent of people are on Twitter—of that, 2 percent generate 80 percent of the comments. So there’s that. But I think humans are very consistent. We’ve done this with the town’s square hangings, or the Roman Colosseum. Humans used to watch hangings as entertainment. We’re a very dark species.
Furthermore, Cummings also believes that the pandemic made “cancel culture” worse, saying:
We have a very basic need to root for or against things, and then we didn’t have sports, and it got so much worse. All of a sudden it was, “He wore bronzer ten years ago”! And I think the pandemic amplified it, because we’re all so scared and freaked out. People don’t realize what they’re doing when they cancel comedians is: we’re funny because things are taboo, and the more you make it taboo, the funnier we get.
Is Jeff Ross an example that there is no such thing as “cancel culture”?
Stern agreed that sometimes comedians have to push boundaries for a laugh. But, she questioned if getting “canceled” is a thing, considering Jeff Ross who still has a career despite allegations. To that, Whitney Cummings said:
That’s one where it’s hard to tell because we’re in a pandemic, so we don’t know who would be getting jobs or who would be touring, because nobody’s touring or really working, so it’s a really weird time. But it was interesting to watch the comedy community kind of…
Whitney Cummings further tried to answer Stern how perhaps greater fame can only lead to being “canceled”:
You also have to have a certain amount of fame to be canceled, so it’s this weird thing of: How do you cancel someone who isn’t super famous? And why are we only canceling people who are super famous? Since power is relative, can you only cancel someone who’s super famous?
Whitney Cummings on Chris D’Elia
Later on, Stern brought up Chris D’Elia in the interview. As we know, Cummings worked with D’Elia from 2011-2013 on her show Whitney. Therefore, when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against D’Elia, Whitney Cummings was in the firing line as well.
Stern asked Cummings whether people like D’Elia and Jeff Ross, who are comedy creeps and abused their power and station, should be in the industry? Simply put, do sexual predators deserve a platform?
It’s interesting, because I’ve worked really hard to not be the #MeToo police. Here’s what I will say: I think that ultimately, because of the internet, the people will decide. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, but people will find their audience—even if they’re curious, or if it’s schadenfreude. I think I’ve made my stance on predatory behavior super clear, but, I don’t know.
Whitney Cummings further mentioned how society has very low tolerance right now and that people are even scared of their own siblings, saying:
The person next to you at the grocery store is scary right now. Your own brother or sister is scary to you right now, if they just flew. Everyone is so scared that it’s impossible to think about forgiving anyone. We have zero-tolerance right now. But these people might resurface again on independent platforms, without sponsors or networks behind them, and the people that listen or watch, they might not be watching for the right reasons, but I’m sure people want to watch a freak show.
Comedians aren’t perfect
As Marlow Stern mentioned Jeff Ross and Chris D’Elia, Whitney Cummings mentioned how comedians are flawed people, and in some cases “scumbags”. She said that comedians make a living by advertising those flaws and making themselves relatable to people. She said:
We go onstage, say we’re a scumbag and piece of sh*t, and then when it’s revealed that we did all those things people get mad at us. So when it comes to minors and rape, that’s never acceptable and never OK, but expecting comedians to be perfect? That’s not what we do. We didn’t sign up for that. That was never our job. We advertise our mistakes. We hate ourselves! You don’t need to cancel us! Nobody hates us more than us. You don’t think we’re funny? We agree! So it’s this fascinating thing.
You can read her complete interview here.
Related: Chris D’Elia supporters are examples of Toxic Masculinity