Comedians Censored on College Campuses

(p. A3) Stars such as Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have said they don’t play college shows anymore because the audiences are too easily offended. Schools now often have contracts that forbid performers from using certain words or even broaching entire subjects.
. . .
Alvin Williams, who is from Chicago, said he did some college shows this year, after largely swearing off them for cruise ships about three years ago. He had been doing a lot of what he regarded as G-rated material, but was shocked to find even that could be offensive on campus.
“I’d never thought I’d see the day when family-friendly material is not appropriate for college kids,” said Mr. Williams.
. . .
Mr. Williams said he no longer mimics Indian or Chinese accents or tells jokes about camels. He believes the only reason Apu, the Indian convenience-store owner on the television show “The Simpsons,” still exists is because he has been grandfathered in and audiences are used to him.
The increasing sensitivity is being driven by peer pressure, Mr. Williams said. “They think, if I’m not offended by this then I’m not a good friend,” he said. “If I tell a joke about black people, whites are more likely to get more offended.”
Mr. Williams, who is black, refuses to jettison all his racial material, but is more apt to focus the joke on himself. One of his favorites: “I hate stereotypes with a passion,” he deadpans. “The problem is I love fried chicken.”

For the full story, see:
DOUGLAS BELKIN. “Comedy at College Is Often No Laughing Matter.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Nov. 13, 2015): A3.
(Note: ellipses added. The online version of the article is much longer than the print version. A couple of the paragraphs quoted above, appear only in the online version.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 12, 2015, and has the title “For Stand-Up Comedians, Shows on Campus Are Often No Joke.”)

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