PC Culture

Anti-Woke Comedians

Aziz Ansari in Right Now (Netflix/via YouTube)
What if the counterculture becomes the culture? Then comics start to sound like the counter-counterculture.

‘It’s a sad state of affairs when a lady can’t have her hairy balls waxed,” Ricky Gervais said on Twitter, referring to a Canadian lawsuit in which a man posing as a woman seeks to force female beauticians to remove the hair from his masculine undercarriage.

“You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where some kids got shot,” remarks Louis C.K. “Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way. Now I gotta listen to you talking?”

If anyone is to save us from the wokescolds, it’ll be the comedians.

How alarmed the Left must be at this increasingly obvious new trend: Some of the biggest names in comedy are saying much the same things conservative columnists say, only in joke form. Standup comics are supposed to be the bought-and-paid-for property of progressivism, a means of “fighting the power,” tribunes of the counterculture and legatees of the sanctified Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.

What if the counterculture becomes the culture, though? Then comics start to sound like the counter-counterculture. What they have going for them is truth. As in a libel proceeding, truth is an absolute defense for a comedian. It makes the jokes sting and reverberate, especially when it’s a truth that no one is supposed to state aloud. Comics are some of the last people left in America who can get rewarded rather than punished for repeating inconvenient truths. You know who else is in that category? A lot of us writers at National Review. Worlds collide.

Aziz Ansari these days is sounding very interested in the most salient cultural development in American life the last few years, which is the ascent of the wokescolds. After being given a severe scourging by the social-media mob after he was targeted by a lengthy piece of revenge porn relating embarrassing details about a consensual sexual encounter, he is sounding feistier than before in his new Netflix special, Aziz Ansari: Right Now.

Ansari has had some experience with racism and finds it troublesome. But it’s woke white people he finds really exceptionally boring: “Say what you will about racist people, but they’re usually very brief. Newly woke white people are exhausting!” Aziz studied the online furor about a Salt Lake City teen who enraged the mob by wearing a Chinese-style prom dress:

My favorite thing is you go on these threads, and you’d see people arguing, trying to, like, out-woke each other. You know what I mean? Like, one person’d be like, “Oh, I can’t believe she’d just steal from Chinese culture like that.” Another guy’d be like, “Actually, the Chinese stole that from Malaysia.” And I was like, “Oh, s**t! You just got out-woked!”

You thought your eyes were open. This other dude doesn’t even have a forehead. His eyeball just keeps going . . . just so he can see all the injustice.

Who would have guessed that a brown-skinned son of Muslim immigrants would so hilariously detail how anxious white liberals are throwing crazy logs on the bonfire of the insanities? Like comedians in general, Ansari has a strong BS detector, and Eau de Barnyard is the chosen perfume of the progressive class. You just never know if they’re telling the truth about their opinions or trying to score points in an imaginary game.

Is there some sort of secret, progressive Candy Crush we don’t know about? Like, don’t you imagine some white people getting together in secret, like, “All right, let’s tally up our scores. What did everyone do for equality today?” . . . “Well, I told one of my African-American friends I thought Black Panther should have won Best Picture. Then I tweeted out some support for this new documentary by a lesbian filmmaker. . . . Wrote a lengthy Instagram post calling myself out for white privilege based on something I did in 2015.” Ding, ding, ding! “Tell him what he’s won, guys!” “Oh, Brian’s won a bunch of Instagram likes from other white people playing the same game!”

Aziz agrees with every conservative that we mortals are imperfectible and it’s folly to suggest otherwise. “We’re all s***ty people, okay?… And if you’re sitting there, like, ‘I’m not s***ty. I’m aware of all the marginalized groups.’ You’re extra s***ty, okay? ’Cause you’re arrogant. Have some humility.” This is refreshing stuff.

Three years ago, before his ritual public shaming, Ansari was writing pieces like “Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family” for the New York Times, foreseeing an outbreak of Islamophobia. As it turns out, the abuse heaped on Ansari in the Trump era came from another direction entirely. He doesn’t mention Trump in the new set, except to make fun of how the president gets blamed every time someone gets triggered. He has a bit about one of those social-media flare-ups, this one involving a pepperoni pizza: Were the pepperonis arranged in the form of a swastika? Was it an accident? Except Ansari made up the story to see if he could get people to opine on a fictitious controversy, to express their mindlessness in the form of applause. This sounds like an excerpt from Kevin Williamson’s new book:

Every night, people clap. First, the first group claps. “Yeah, it’s a swastika. That’s what the country is. Trump probably put those pepperonis on there himself!” Then, the other crew claps. “No way. The country’s way too sensitive. PC police. Snowflakes!” And what these people don’t realize is despite believing completely different things, they’re actually the same person. ’Cause they don’t really care about learning, and exploring, and discussing, they just want to chime in with their little programmed reactions.

The standing ovation Ansari gets at the beginning of his show, and the hearty reaction to his anti-woke new material, are heartening. Ansari was placed in the public stocks and pelted with rotten fruit for a while, and he’s just fine. No, he’s even better. Now let’s hear what Louis C.K. has to say.

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