A comedian and a college student walk into a bar … but what follows had to be censored, since it wasn’t PC.
Earlier this month, Jerry Seinfeld kicked off a great debate questioning the place of political correctness in comedy, highlighting his policy of avoiding PC college campuses. He was soon supported by fellow comedians Jeff Ross, Bill Maher and others, who agreed that “PC police should try … not taking themselves so seriously, not taking everything so seriously.”
But things came to a head last week when a college student himself responded to Seinfeld in an open letter published by The Huffington Post.
As a self-described “college student that loves and appreciates offensive, provocative comedy,” Anthony Berteaux of San Diego State disagreed with Seinfeld, and especially didn’t appreciate the comedian’s statement that university students “don’t know what the hell they’re talking about” when they jump to label speech “sexist” and “prejudice.”
In his letter, the humorless fan of humor underscored the “need to talk about the role that provocative comedy holds today in a progressive world.” This kind of humor “can no longer afford to be crass, or provocative for the sake of being offensive,” Berteaux wrote. Instead, sensitive topics must have underlying them “a context that spurs social dialogue about these respective issues.”
In the conclusion of his letter, Berteaux declared, “So, yes, Mr. Seinfeld, we college students are politically correct.” However, he said, “College students today are looking to be provoked, to be offended by comedy, and to think about these issues within the context of comedy … So please, take the first step and come to a college campus with a set that will make us laugh. Offend the f**k out of college students. Provoke the f**k out of me.”
Berteaux probably wasn’t expecting the following response to his eloquent PC plea. On Real Time, Maher addressed him as “you little sh*t” and derided the college student for proffering comedic guidance to a famous funnyman. He continued his jab at Berteaux, saying “I’m sure you’re busy with your new letter explaining astrophysics to Stephen Hawking and giving jump shot pointers to Steph Curry, but try to get a clue.”
Not too many people can get away with being anti-PC. The media tends to crucify the smallest slips. But, then again, Bill Maher is quite liberal, so maybe he gets a pass. Either way, if you’re anyone but a brave comedian, steer clear from the PC Police ... and college students.