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Steve Harvey: “Political correctness has killed comedy”

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Steve Harvey has shared his thoughts on ‘cancel culture’ and how it’s changed the landscape of stand-up comedy.

  • READ MORE: If the ‘cancel culture’ debate proved anything, it’s that the time has come to cancel Twitter

Speaking to reporters while promoting his new ABC daytime courtroom series Judge Steve Harvey, the comedian, actor and TV host said the only way he can do “one more special” is “if it’s at the end” of his career as he knows it.

“It will end my television career,” Harvey said at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We’re in the cancel culture now. No stand-up that is sponsor-driven can say anything he wants to.”

The Think Like A Man and Family Feud star then went on to list a number of comics he thinks are unable to do stand-up anymore through fear they might lose their sponsorship deals including Chris Rock and Kevin Hart.

“I can go down the list,” he said. “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 faced backlash last year, especially amongst the LGBTQ community, when he said during his latest Netflix special, The Closer, that “gender is a fact”.

“They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God,” Chappelle told his audience. “Effectively, she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a TERF.”

Chappelle continued: “I’m team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle in ‘The Closer’. CREDIT: Netflix

Harvey, who got his start as a stand-up comic, has put out a number of specials over the years, and he was also part of the record-breaking Kings Of Comedy tour alongside Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley and Cedric The Entertainer.

“If I had tried to continue as a stand-up, there’s no way I could maintain it,” he continued. “Political correctness has killed comedy. Every joke you tell now, it hurts somebody’s feelings.

“A joke has to be about something. It has to be about somebody. 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.”

Harvey didn’t completely rule out doing another stand-up, admitting that he’d like “to do one more”, but it would have to be at the end of his career.

In November, Madonna chimed in on the ‘cancel culture’ conversation, saying that there’s “no debate or discussion” over coronavirus vaccines because of the fear permeated by “cancel culture”.

“No one’s allowed to speak their mind right now,” she told V Magazine. “No one’s allowed to say what they really think about things for fear of being cancelled, cancel culture. In cancel culture, disturbing the peace is probably an act of treason.”

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