The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Breaking News
  • February 15Enjoy the Long Weekend!
The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The misogyny of male comedians

The poster for Matt Rife’s comedy special “Natural Selection”.

Stand-up comedians right now are under attack; or so they think. 


Recently, there has been a noticeable rise in comedians who write “edgy,” “dangerous,” and “anti-woke” material – each pretending that their jokes are original and different then the fifty other temperamental comedians that have come before them. The Netflix special is titled something like “Outrage,” “Non-cancellable,” or “Natural Selection” to warn viewers that this special will be offensive, and will trigger the “snowflakes”. They may smoke while speaking, sit on the edge of their bare stage, and they will preface their jokes with a warning about how nothing they say anymore is acceptable. The camera will pan to the adoring audience, who laugh during the set up and cheer before the punchline. 


However, when you take these comedians out of their audience bubble, the reaction to their comedy is tepid at best. Jo Koy, who hosted the Golden Globes and drew widespread criticism for his jokes about the Barbie movie, speaking about how the film depicts a “plastic doll with big boobies.” On stage, when drawing little laughs, Koy became defensive, blaming his team of writers for the jokes. Afterwards, he exclaimed to the LA Times, “what happened to society that we can’t even tell jokes anymore?” 


Similarly, Matt Rife faced heat for the opening joke to his Netflix special, where he combines a domestic violence joke with a “women belong in the kitchen” joke. Rife’s audience grew on Tiktok, where he garnered a massive platform, mainly women, from a combination of his good looks and his crowd work. In his Netflix special, he abandons the crowd work, instead performing only written material, and abandons his female audience, by making fun of stereotypically female hobbies like crystals and astrology (before explaining how terrified he is of aliens). When many female fans expressed disappointment in his special, he went on record to explain how he is now “for the boys.” Matt Rife has clearly been inspired by the growth of edgy comedy, but somehow manages to be both offensive and boring; his special is an hour of nothing. Instead, it is chock full of uninspired setups leading to almost depressingly dull punchlines. 


The king of this new genre is undoubtedly, Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle was once an icon for his well loved and comical sketch show, The Chappelle Show, but now is better known for his stand up specials punching down on transgender people. In his recent special, he does something unheard of. In the middle of the special, he asks the audience for a standing ovation, and leaves the stage to get a cigarette. When he returns, he lectures his crowd about not receiving the standing ovation like he asked for. It’s jarring in a way, to see the lack of care he has for his audience. Chapelle has the capacity to be funny, and has exercised it so many times before, but with his recent work, it seems he cares more about pushing his beliefs on transgender people than writing decent jokes to surround them. He seems intent on believing that “woke” people will hate his comedy no matter what, rather than acknowledging the tired schtick that he keeps trotting around isn’t working anymore. 


The problem with “anti-woke” comedy now is the emptiness of it. The creation of three recycled jokes about trans people, women, and “snowflakes” does not make an interesting comedy special, nor does it differentiate someone from the pack of edgy comedians that already have cornered the market. It makes audiences upset, it makes comedians defensive, and more than anything, it makes comedy boring. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *