Steve Harvey is speaking out against cancel culture, saying that "political correctness has killed comedy" and claiming that his career would not survive if he were to do a comedy show in today's climate.
The comedian, whose courtroom show "Judge Steve Harvey" started its run Jan. 4., made the remarks at the Television Critics Association press tour.
"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," Harvey said, according to Variety. "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. 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 caused an uproar last year after cracking anti-transgender jokes during his Netflix special "The Closer" but rather than back down from the backlash, he embraced it.
"If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," Chappelle said in October at a star-studded show at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rather than be booed off stage, Chapelle received a standing ovation. Fans cheered and Netflix stood by his side by making the decision not to pull the comedy special from its streaming platform or end its working relationship with him.
Instead, late last year the streaming giant announced that Chappelle will be headlining a show taking place next year at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the "Netflix Is a Joke Festival," which will run from April 28 through May 8 and will see over 130 artists performing at 25 venues across Los Angeles. Things may not pan out the same for Harvey if he were to deliver a comedy show without any restraints.
"If I had tried to continue as a stand-up, there’s no way I could maintain it," Harvey told reporters. "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.
"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.'"
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