Steve Harvey doesn’t approve of cancel culture.
The “Family Feud” host recently spoke out about the concept during a press tour for the Television Critics Association and like many others, Harvey finds that it silences people. The theory was initially meant to hold people accountable for their transgressions, but at times people have abused the power of cancel culture over a minor offense. Knowing that, the 64-year-old explained why cancel culture makes him hesitant to do another stand-up comedy special.
He said, “The only way I can do one more special is if it’s at the end of my television career because it will end my television career. We’re in the cancel culture now. No stand-up that is sponsor-driven can say anything he wants to. Chris Rock can’t. Kevin Hart can’t. Cedric the Entertainer can’t. D.L. Hughley can’t. I can go down the list.”
He added, “The only person that can say what they want to say on stage is Dave Chappelle because he’s not sponsor-driven. He’s subscription-driven.” Chappelle caught slack last year after making a few controversial statements during his Netflix special “The Closer.” While many were publicly displeased and even called for his special to be removed, the streaming platform, Netflix, decided against it.
Harvey says he doesn’t have the same luxury as Chappelle if he were to tell a joke that people wanted to cancel him over. “If I had tried to continue as a stand-up, there’s no way I could maintain it. Political correctness has killed comedy. Every joke you tell now, it hurts somebody’s feelings. But what people don’t understand about comedians is that a joke has to be about something. It has to be about somebody.”
He further explained, “We can’t write jokes about puppies all the time. The joke can’t be about bushes all the time. Some of these jokes will have to be about people, because that’s the most interesting topic. So if I come back, I’ll have to wait until I’m done. And I’m not done. I want to do one more. I’ll probably have to call it ‘This Is It.’”
Harvey recently had to face executives at ABC-TV after repeatedly calling a man “stupid” on his new show “Judge Steve Harvey.” In the case involving a man and woman, the two, who have three children and indicated they planned to stay together even after the show appearance, were suing each other. The woman was suing for a “bachelor knot” party and the man was countering with claims that the woman to whom he had been engaged for 16 years lost the engagement ring. This, he claimed, led him to purchase a metal detector to try to locate the ring. Harvey called the man stupid in part for decision to this point not to marry the woman he plans to continue being in a relationship with and who very much wants to marry him.
Harvey later told Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Monday that his calling the man “stupid” made ABC executives pull him to the side. “I said, this is the stupidest dude I’ve ever met and ABC had a little talk with me afterwards because you know, ‘Steve, it’s not politically correct to call anybody stupid.’ ”
Harvey isn’t the only comedian who has ill feelings toward cancel culture. Kevin Hart, who’s been in trouble for speaking about the LGBTQ community as well, said last year that he “personally doesn’t give a sh-t about cancel culture.”
He added, “If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about… nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f-ck up! What are you talking about?”
Katt Williams, on the other hand, has a different outlook. The comedian said on the “Joe Budden Podcast” last year that while people may not like cancel culture, “some of these things are for the benefit of everything.” He explained that if a comedian can’t tell jokes without offending people “then it probably ain’t for you.”
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