DL Hughley said that television and radio changed forever as a result of the February 1, 2004, wardrobe malfunction that Janet Jackson had during her Super Bowl halftime show with Justin Timberlake.
After the event, the television executives immediately inserted a tape delay. The delay was why the slap that Will Smith gave Chris Rock could not be seen on American television; it had to be viewed on a foreign feed.
Now, something has happened again. As a result of the Smith slap, comedy is changing. One of the most significant changes has been to security, said Hughley. He said his latest show had vamped up security due to his agent’s concerns.
“It is making people believe that they can walk on stage and slap comedians if they say something they don’t like,” said Hughley.
According to Hughley, cancel culture has already left comedians on edge. Social media has made comedy creators nervous about the material they use for shows and their actions on stage.
“Comedy was already under assault. There was an [era] of political correctness that inhibited many people from saying things. Many people were hesitant to go out because something they said or did on stage could be then shown to the rest of the world and cause them to be canceled,” claimed Hughley.
Hughley said comedy is now more dangerous because of Smith. He claims that many people agree with Smith, and people now think assaulting comedians is acceptable. Some comedians are afraid to get on stage after the slap, added Hughley.
“I’ve talked to several comedians; they don’t want to go out anymore. Before that [slap], it was because of political correctness. Now it’s because of violence,” said Hughley.
Hughley said laughter is the best form of medicine because it can heal people. Comedians, known in antiquated times as jesters, were once used to serve the king. Comedians have survived everything, even being killed by the king. Hughley said comedy has persevered through all the challenges and is now in jeopardy because of the Fresh Prince.
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