Comedian Donnell Rawlings is probably best known for his work alongside comedy legend Dave Chappelle, but what probably isn’t well known is Rawlings holds his own as a comedian, having been in the game for over twenty years. With that sort of experience, he’s a credible source to drop some sage wisdom about the current state of stand-up comedy and that’s exactly what he did.
Chopping it up with his buds from The Breakfast Club, Rawlings shot from the hip (as all great comedians should do) about today’s overly sensitive social climate and how it’s impacting the art form of stand-up comedy. He believes because people are becoming so easily offended by the jokes being told, it will lead to watered down material lacking uniqueness.
“I do think that society is overly sensitive right now and it’s gonna take away from what real, true stand-up comedy is,” said Rawlings.
“True stand-up comedy is somebody taking something and putting a humorous spin [on it] and it’s [the comedian’s] point of view, the way they look at things. Once you start taking that away, then everybody is gonna be like cookie cutter – everybody is gonna sound the same and comedy shouldn’t be like that.”
The man who made the character Ashy Larry famous also says those who take offence to a stand-up comedian’s routine don’t quite understand the medium. By simply doing a bit of research beforehand about a performer before actually going to see them, fans can get a good idea of what they’re getting into and if they don’t like it; they don’t have to go. Yet some still insist on going to the show, only to complain about getting offended afterwards and that’s something the veteran comedian thinks is hurting stand-up in the long run.
“A stand-up comic’s thoughts aren’t supposed to run parallel with your thoughts – you going to see somebody to listen to their point of view and they add some humour to it,” he said.
“So if you go to a comedy club and you expect ‘well I don’t appreciate this I didn’t want him to say that’ first off, look at the definition of a comedian and then Google that person – you can tell the type of content you’re gonna get when you get there. I just think that certain communities are overly, overly sensitive and then we get to a point now like, you won’t be able to tell a joke…as a comedian when you start coming up with a joke and you like ‘I wonder what they’re gonna think, if this person is gonna be offended’ then you don’t have your authentic voice anymore.”
The entire (hilarious) interview can be viewed below and throughout, aside from cracking jokes and ragging on CTG, he speaks on Michael Blackson disrespecting Kevin Hart, facing assault charges, the ongoing Hollywood sex scandal and the culture within Hollywood, and more.