2019 is the worst time to have an opinion.
I have to think so hard.
“Is this stupid?”
Usually the answer is yes.
And that’s scary.
Because you’re not allowed to be stupid outloud anymore. You’ll get crucified for being “politically incorrect.”
But where’s the line?
That’s what I want to know. So I had Brian Scott McFadden come on the podcast. He’s a comedian. And he’s pushing the line.
I’ll give you an example.
He has a bit. Where he says, “America is a racist country.”
Then he says, “But that’s because we have a lot of races in America… That’s one of the requirements of being a racist country. No one talks about there being racism in China… It’s a very homogenous thing. One of the beautiful things about America is that we’re so racist because we have so many races…”
Is this politically incorrect?
Should he get death threats?
Are death threats politically correct?
That’s what I want to know.
Here’s the podcast:
- [Giveaway alert] I’m giving away my new book “Side Hustle Bible” for free. Listen to hear how to claim your copy today – [0:00]
- Episode preview – [1:45]
- I welcome Brian Scott McFadden onto the show and introduce the topic of the podcast: political incorrectness in comedy and society generally – [2:52]
- The disease of political correctness… and how it spreads over time – [4:03]
- One of the problems today is that we’re going back in time and ridiculing people for what they said 20 years ago. “We’ve all gone through shifts in our consciousness of what you’re allowed to say,” Brian said. “But it’s weird to say, ‘You should’ve known in the future that this would be offensive.” Then Brian gives a surprising example from Eddie Murphy’s first album, “Delirius” – [5:08]
- Does context matter? And should comedians have more leeway than other professionals? – [8:07]
- Brian says people’s perception of comedy changed when Bush beat Gore. There was a shift. And it started with Jon Stewart. Because “comedians became this important voice.” – [10:52]
- How news has changed from the 1970s to today. And why TV news has switched from being a public service to entertainment – [15:26]
- How did the country get divided in half? We look at how Democrats vs. Republicans have changed since 2008 – [20:12]
- Brian jokes, “America is a racist country.” But he also points out the systemic and endemic problems in this country – [22:24]
- Why social media makes us fight more – [23:14]
- The tricks journalists use to fight for attention and incite anger – [24:43]
- Social media used to be called social networks. We used it to make friends. Now we use it to get attention and yell at each other. And in some countries, it’s led to war and genocide – [29:49]
- There’s a tradeoff with technology. But sometimes we make the mistake of only looking at what it gives us—not what it takes away from us – [31:49]
- The intoxicating illusion of Facebook… Brian says, “It appears like it’s a tool for connection, but it also disconnects you from the motivation to really reach out for human connection.” – [36:05]
- How I personally block myself from over-engaging online – [38:38]
- “Technology is not neutral.” – Neil Postman – [39:32]
- Twitter’s impact on society… How this tool impacts the human psyche – [40:15]
- The illusion of “Likes” – [43:03]
- Why we’re being fed a “Hunger Games” perception of the world – [44:37]
- Comedy special recommendation: “Growing” by Amy Schumer – [47:20]
- Celebrities and politics… should we care? – [47:28]
- I ask Brian, “What’s an example where you were vilified for a joke?” – [50:07]
- The danger of taking words out of context – [54:45]
- People are scared to laugh. And we’re all persuaded by groupthink. So people think if they laugh at something politically incorrect, they’ll be kicked out of the tribe – [56:25]
- Book recommendation: “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Khaneman – [58:39]
- Comedy as an art form and the importance of saying something unique – [59:37]
- I tell Brian a joke about abortion – [1:00:47]
- “Everybody should be able to joke about everything… Comedy is supposed to strip away our differences to unite our shared humanity.” – Brian Scott McFadden [1:06:30]
- Comedian recommendation: Andrew Shculz [1:07:38]
- Brian tells his bit about a “skeptical panhandler” – [1:09:50]
- Why comedy is the least respected form of art… – [1:14:20]
How doing stand-up comedy teaches you to adapt – [1:17:29]
- What matters more: humor or performance? – [1:20:52]
- We talk about Brian’s background. His dad was a voice actor. “That was the way I got into comedy,” Brian said. “By listening to him.” – [1:23:59]
- The best advice Brian got from his dad: “Always end with a killer closer.” – [1:26:00]
- Brian says he got all his work starting out by doing voices. And he does a bunch. But he realized he didn’t want to only be an impressionist – [1:26:19]
- How to get away with a dangerous joke: Pose a question to the audience – [1:29:40]
- Brian’s bit about it being a bad time to be a man. And how Bruce Jenner got out just in time – [1:30:47]
- The problem with claiming a joke is “phobic” – [1:32:07]
- Why it’s weird that comedians are being attacked for their content… Brian says, “Comedy is a celebration of differences. It should be an illumination of topics.” – [1:33:11]
- Brian’s joke about pronouns and Starbucks – [1:35:22]
- Brian’s bit about introducing performers to the stage – [1:37:46]
- I tell one of my favorite bits from Brian about saving lives – [1:43:12]
- Crowds are like scared animals. Brian and I talk about why people are afraid to laugh – [1:44:13]
- How to deal with failure… “What could I have done better?” – [1:44:57]
- What I do to scope the crowd out and prime them to laugh – [1:45:25]
- What it’s like to do standup on national TV. Brian quotes Bill Hicks, who said, “They put you in a dress and tell you to be yourself.” – [1:47:17]
- The process of network TV vetting your set before you go on – [1:48:11]
- Comedian recommendation: Sam Kinessan on Letterman – [1:50:32]
- Comedian recommendation: Bill Hicks [1:51:34]
- Why great jokes get forgotten – [1:52:48]
- Brian says, “There’s always a new way to say something.” And then shares one of his favorite bits from Brian Regan – [1:54:21]
- Louis C.K.’s ability to see the bizarre – [1:54:58]
- How Brian wrote his “What Women Want” bit for Letterman – [1:55:22]
- Comedian recommendation: Gary Gulman (check out his abbreviations bit) – [1:55:49]
- I ask Brian, “Did we solve the political correctness problem?” And I share what I got out of this interview – [1:56:56]
- I tell a story of having to follow Aaron Berg on stage. And the challenge I always have when I go up after a great performance – [1:59:02]
- The job of the MC is to help the audience grieve the loss of their bond with the previous comedian before the next comes up – [2:00:36]
- Brian tells a story about working with Jerry Seinfeld – [2:04:02]
- The time I went onstage to do public speaking after Julian Asange – [2:05:58]
- Find Brian on Twitter @BScottMcFadden. And we talk about his upcoming YouTube show called “Agent of Trump.” He says, “It’s a light-hearted, crazy show.” – [2:08:00]
- I thank Brian for coming on the podcast – [2:09:27]
Links & Resources
- Follow Brian Scott McFadden on Twitter
- See videos, blogs and upcoming events from Brian at brianscottmcfadden.com
- Keep an eye out for his upcoming YouTube show, “Agent of Trump,” where Brian plays Donald Trump’s agent