Comedian and actor Tyler Fischer joined The Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech on Fox News’s “The Ben Domenech Podcast” on Monday to talk about how comedy has changed over the years and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to pay tribute to the late Norm Macdonald.
Fischer and Domenech noted how left-wing comics have become more willing to infuse their comedy with political vitriol. “They’re cutting out half the country,” Fischer said. “It’s one thing to make fun of something, and it’s another thing to suggest someone is a Nazi for choosing a political candidate. It’s so outrageous and it’s why I stopped watching Colbert, I stopped watching Kimmel, I stopped listening to NPR.”
While COVID lockdowns restricted live shows, Fischer noted, he leaned into growing his following through making videos, a contrast to the “dying model” in which budding comedians were more dependent on late-night show appearances to get their big break. That “dying” Hollywood model, he said, is also being limited by the requirements of wokeism.
“The woke stuff is just eating it alive and talent is now below skin color, it’s below your sexuality, it’s below your acronyms,” he added. “I lost an agent because he said, ‘We can’t help white guys anymore.’ I can’t get an agent, they just tell me flat-out, ‘Sorry, we’re only taking quote-unquote diverse people,’ which they mean racially diverse.”
Woke expectations of what can and can’t be joked about have also limited comedy in Hollywood. “Have we really reached a point where you can’t make fun of the powerful? You can’t make fun of Anthony Fauci, you can’t make fun of Joe Biden, these things are off-limits?” Domenech asked.
“The upside is you really can say what you want. You can’t say it on ‘The Tonight Show,’ but you can say it on your platform or on YouTube or on Patreon,” Fischer responded. “There’s something almost freeing about it where you go, OK, I’m not even trying to get into the Hollywood scene so I have nothing to lose.”
“It’s one of the saddest things to me to see real, talented comedians sidelined by the corporate realities of what they’re facing,” Domenech said. “And obviously that’s something that Norm experienced in his own life, in the sense of having this plum job at ‘Weekend Update,’ being told by Don Ohlmeyer infamously that he needed to slow down on the O. J. [Simpson] jokes, and then deciding that he’s going to tell twice as many O. J. jokes. That’s such a wonderful reflection on what bravery looks like within comedy, which is not standing up and giving lectures from the comedy stage.”
Recounting stories about Macdonald, Domenech asked Fischer if he had a favorite Norm joke or story.
“I think my favorite joke is, he’s saying like, ‘What if you woke up and you were wrong about everything, everything you ever did was wrong? It’s time to go to the rope store. The best thing about that is that next to the rope store there’s always a rickety stool store, it’s funny how that, they’re always right next to each other,'” Fischer imitated. “That one always stuck into my head, he’s such a good actor, that’s something I don’t think people talk about enough.”
Listen to the full interview here.