Dan Aykroyd Weighed In On Comedians, Cancel Culture, And ‘Pulling Divisive Cards To Get A Laugh’

The current incarnation of the cancel culture discussion, inevitably, revolves around Dave Chappelle’s trans jokes in The Closer. The backlash led to a Netflix employee walkout and Chappelle complaining that he’s endured the “worst three weeks of my life” while continuing to, uh, tell trans jokes at sold-out venues. So, Dave hasn’t technically been “cancelled,” but that’s really beside the point because the subject of cancel culture popped up in Hollywood Reporter interview with O.G. SNL star Dan Aykroyd (and famously one of the Not Ready for Primetime Players).

Granted, Aykroyd was on hand to discuss the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie, and Chappelle’s name never comes up, but it’s not hard to guess that this question’s in the air because of the adversarial vibe that Chappelle continues to nurture. And Aykroyd is here to wonder why comedians can’t simply write jokes without resorting to “divisive cards” (or for that matter, poop jokes), which is a relevant point:

“There is enough range in humor where you don’t have to go scatological and you don’t have to go pulling any divisive cards to get a laugh. There is so much in the world to comment on that is outside the realm of offensiveness. As a writer, you can go to other areas and have successful creative endeavors. Scatological humor is fun. It’s easy laughs. But there is more intelligent writing that can happen if you stay away from the offensive material that should be rightly canceled for its hurtfulness.

Aykroyd continued with a personal example, which is that he’s perfectly capable of, say, doing a James Brown “imitation” because “I do his voice pretty good” and “[h]e was one of my best friends.” Yet he decided, “[M]aybe I shouldn’t anymore.” Seth Rogen recently made a similar point, that comedians should accept that some jokes don’t age well, and that’s that. Chappelle, on the other hand, appears to be in the business of being divisive, and with that, he should expect to feel the backlash.

(Via Hollywood Reporter)