Wednesday watch: why political correctness is good for comedy


There’s a lot of handwringing about “political correctness” (a phrase I am hesitant to even use because I feel like it’s owned by people who say it disdainfully) and how it’s ruining comedy. People complain about censorship, when the fact is that no one is being censored; they just have to deal with the consequences of what they decide to say. While some comedians will argue that people have become too sensitive, there are plenty of comedians who have proven that you can respect people and also hilariously take on difficult topics like rape culture or race.

In this video, one of my all time favorite comedians Paul F. Tompkins shares his philosophy on the issue, and how he feels comedians need to adapt to the changing world.


Author: Rebecca Griffin

I am a passionate advocate for progressive causes with over a decade of experience organizing for social change. That organizing experience informs the way I look at the world and the challenges we face in working toward social justice. I started Of Means and Ends to write about social issues I care about and share my thoughts on how we organize in a smart, strategic way. Please visit and join the conversation.

2 thoughts on “Wednesday watch: why political correctness is good for comedy”

  1. Hurray for Paul F. Tompkins! It’s really interesting how, when I was growing up and watching comedy central, comedy and misogyny seemed to go hand in hand. It’s so cool to see how things have evolved. What’s your take on how that happened?


    1. Good question. One theory could be that the recent alt comedy boom, and different ways for getting content out (podcasts, web series, etc.) makes room for more voices and we’re not just hearing from straight white dudes all the time. I do notice that a lot of comedians in that scene are telling jokes that are anti-racist, feminist, etc., even if they’re not “political comedians.”

      Still I hear the “political correctness” thing is still controversial with some comedians, and there’s still a mainstream scene that is more tolerant of misogynist or racist jokes.


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