Jon Lovitz said comedians are afraid to voice their opinions on stage because they worry someone will try to “cancel” them. The Saturday Night Live alumnus said “cancel culture” was keeping comedians from doing their jobs and calling out society’s hypocrisies.
But Lovitz told Page Six recently that he won’t change his act to satisfy someone else’s opinion. He said it was similar to McCarthyism in the 1940s to 1950s, when many entertainers had their lives destroyed, careers upended, and reputations tainted over an accusation — founded or not — of being members of or being sympathetic to the Communist Party.
The 63-year-old said a comic’s job is “to satirize what’s going on in society and point out the hypocrisies.” But a few upset audience members can post a joke out of context on social media and get that comic into hot water.
“If you don’t have the ability to laugh at yourself, don’t go to a comedy club. I’m not changing my act. If you’re watching TV and you don’t like the show, change the channel. It’s very simple,” he added.
Lovitz isn’t the first comedian to complain that overly sensitive audiences are hurting comedy. Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, and Dave Chappelle have all complained about audiences getting upset over jokes or at things they said years before.
“We all want to live in a polite society; we just kind of have to work on the levels of coming to an agreement of what that actually looks like…The First Amendment is first for a reason,” Dave Chappelle told The Hill in 2019.
Jon Lovitz Defends ‘Goldbergs’ Star Bryan Callen
Jon Lovitz went a step further though when he defended comedian Bryan Callen. At least four women accused The Goldbergs star of rape or sexual misconduct, Variety reported. Producers removed Callen from the eighth season of the show, and he lost several stand-up bookings. Callen has continuously denied the accusations.
Lovitz said that was unfair.
“He should not be canceled. It’s horrible,” Lovitz told us. “I remember reading the article and thought it was ridiculous. One girl said she was 24 and he was 42. She was his girlfriend for three years and she says, ‘I’m 32 now, he should have known better.’ Known what better? You’re 24 to 27, you’re not a kid. What did he do? He had a girlfriend who was younger? So? I like women that are younger, not illegal, most guys do.”
However, Lovitz added if a crime was committed then the person accused should go to jail. But, he said he doesn’t believe the women who accused Callen, calling them jilted lovers.
“But stuff like a girl is on a bad date or the relationship ends and she’s mad that it ended because she got dumped, come on!” he said.
Callen also had his Netflix prank show quietly canceled. Several women, including some who were underage at the time, accused Callen’s co-star Chris D’Elia of sexual misconduct, the LA Times reported. D’Elia even had his role cut out of the Netflix zombie film Army of the Dead because of the accusations and reshot with another actor/comedian, Tig Notaro, in his place.