“I’ll just say it: It’s no different than McCarthyism,” comedian Jon Lovitz said during an interview earlier this week, citing the 1950s blacklisting of alleged communist allies.
While some of Lovitz’s fellow comedians are downplaying the effects of cancel culture, he said that the movement puts needless restraints on the comedy world.
“As soon as you say to a comedian like me, ‘You can’t say that,’ the first thing in my head is, ‘Oh, and now I have to,’” he said, admitting there is “a difference between making jokes and being outright mean.”
The only people who should be cut are those who are offended by jokes, who Lovitz prompted to stop attending comedy shows.
“If you don’t have the ability to laugh at yourself, don’t go to a comedy club. I’m not changing my act. If you’re watching TV and you don’t like the show, change the channel. It’s very simple,” he said.
The Saturday Night Live alumnus also addressed the controversy surrounding actor Bryan Callen, who has been accused by four women of rape and sexual misconduct.
“He should not be canceled. It’s horrible,” Lovitz said, dismissing the accusations.
“I remember reading the article and thought it was ridiculous. One girl said she was 24 and he was 42. She was his girlfriend for three years, and she says, ‘I’m 32 now. He should have known better.’ Know what's better? You’re 24 to 27. You’re not a kid. What did he do? He had a girlfriend who was younger? So? I like women that are younger, not illegal. Most guys do,” he said.
Lovitz said there should be outcomes for anyone who “does something really horrible [like] raping someone.”
“Of course, you should be in prison, obviously, but stuff like a girl is on a bad date or the relationship ends and she’s mad that it ended because she got dumped — come on!” he said.
Cancel culture is regularly developing what can and cannot be said in comedy, moving the proverbial goalposts for comedians, and Lovitz argued “the out of bounds” ought to be there.
“If you ask all of the people who didn’t make it to the NBA, if you asked them if we just lowered the goal down another foot, they would all tell you they’d make it. Nobody likes the out of bounds, but the out of bounds has got to be there,” he said. “Some of these things are for the benefit of everything. Nobody likes the speed limit, but it’s necessary. Nobody likes the shoulder of the road, but it’s there for a reason.”