Lewis Black disagrees with Jerry Seinfeld: "I have not felt that deep-seated sense of political correctness"

Black has a much different approach to college shows than Seinfeld: He just tells everyone not to "pull that sh*t"

By Colin Gorenstein
Published June 24, 2015 9:22PM (EDT)
 Lewis Black     (Comedy Central)
Lewis Black (Comedy Central)

Lewis Black, the "comedic firebrand" who voices "Anger" in Pixar's latest home-run "Inside Out," recently spoke with The Daily Beast about a number of headline-news items sweeping the blogosphere. Never one to shy away from hot-button issues, the 66-year-old comic shared his candid thoughts on the recent shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Bill Cosby's never-ending rape allegations and, of course, Bernie Sanders -- because socialism.

Much of Black's passion, however, came out while discussing P.C. culture. Particularly, in relation to recent news that Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have stopped performing at colleges because of the overbearing political correctness that "kids these days" have.

Black, we learn, is not above doing the college circuit (You listening, overbearingly P.C. college students?).

The excerpts below have been lifted from The Daily Beast's interview which you can read in full here.

Black says that college political correctness is definitely a thing -- but not to the extent that Seinfeld and Rock claim it is:

“I think that some [college kids] are too politically correct, but I don’t think that it’s a sweeping thing,” Black says. “If I feel it’s in the audience, I just go after them. I just go after them for what they’re trying to pull. You don’t pull that kind of shit at a comedy show. I just turn it around on them… When I walk onto a college campus, I know there are certain things—and I never know what it is—where they’re not gonna laugh the way other audiences laugh. And as soon as that happens, I go right after them and tell them why they missed the joke, and why it doesn’t apply. And that they can take that bullshit and go leave it at the door—and I explain it to them.”

Black says it's a comic's job to make people feel on edge, and provides a step-by-step on how to handle a P.C. college student: 

“I go, ‘Here’s the words you stopped at. I can tell you precisely the words you fucking stopped at. You stopped at this word, and you went and made a judgment, and you didn’t hear the whole thing.’ Which means you don’t even know if it’s politically correct. When you walk into a comedy show, you leave it at the door. Ninety-eight percent of comics working are cognizant of the mores of the times, but they will go to the edge. That’s our job! If we don’t go to the edge, then what the fuck are we useful for?”

Ultimately, Black gets why comedians wouldn't want to perform for an audience of college students:

“If someone doesn’t want to [play college campuses], I can understand that,” he says. “But I have not felt that deep-seated sense of political correctness. I see kind of uptightness. There are things they get a little uptight about, but I don’t see it as an overriding thing. When I play pure college audiences, you can use it as a time to [teach]. You know, I’m not going out there to teach stuff, but that’s something you can teach them: to lighten the fuck up!”

Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email cgorenstein@salon.com.

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Chris Rock Inside Out Jerry Seinfeld Lewis Black