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Steve Harvey went off on “cancel culture” while promoting his new ABC courtroom comedy series, Judge Steve Harvey.
The comedian and actor claimed to reporters Tuesday that he couldn’t do another stand-up comedy special unless it were the last thing he ever did in Hollywood, due to content sensitivities.
“We’re in the cancel culture now,” he said during his show’s Television Critics Association press tour panel. “Nobody can say anything he wants to — Chris Rock can’t, Kevin Hart can’t, Cedric the Entertainer can’t, D.L. Hughley can’t. I can go down the list. The only person that can say what they want to say on stage is Dave Chappelle because he’s not sponsor-driven. He’s subscription.
“If I had tried to continue as a stand-up, there’s no way I could maintain it because political correctness has killed comedy, has killed it,” he continued. “Every joke now, it hurts somebody’s feelings. What people don’t understand about comedians is that a joke has to be about something. It has to be about somebody. We can’t write jokes about puppies all the time. The joke can’t be about bushes all the time. Some of these jokes have to be about people — because that’s the most interesting topic. So if I come back, I have to wait until I’m done [with my TV career]. And I’m not done. I’d have to call it This Is It or something like that.”
He wasn’t done: “So one of the reasons I stopped doing stand-up was my wife informed me that God was about to do something — I had no idea what he’s going to do — he was going to give me this [new show], and it turned out to be the best thing that happened to me.”
On another political topic, Harvey had a couple of thoughts on the legal system.
“Just because it’s the law don’t make it right,” he noted. “Every law is not a correct law. We have a law in this country that everybody has the right to bear arms. But everybody shouldn’t bear arms. Everybody shouldn’t have a gun. That’s clear to me. Every stand your ground [law] — everybody shouldn’t be told to stand their ground. That’s why I’m glad [my show is] not that type of court.”
Judge Steve Harvey features the Emmy winner presiding over small claims court cases in a comedic primetime take on the popular daytime TV format popularized by shows like Judge Judy.
“I’m going to do this show for two years and it’s going to be a huge success,” he predicted. “It’s based on my opinion and common sense — and I got a Ph.D. in that. I’m a sum total of so many of my challenges. I think the average person just has to remember that every time you fail, every time you’re challenged, it’s not to destroy you, or to injure you, or to cause you to give up. All of those things are to prepare you for what you ask God for.”
He continued, “I wanted to be successful, so I had to be tested. Because, on the way to becoming successful, you’ve got to understand disappointment. You’ve got to understand attacks. You’ve got to understand litigation. You’ve got to understand being misunderstood. You’ve got to be able to deal with being talked [about] — nobody talks about you if you’re not doing nothing. You’ve got to develop tough skin. I just say to people when you’re going through challenges, to deal with it, envelop it, pray about it and ask for the lesson behind it.”
Judge Steve Harvey premiered Tuesday, Jan. 4, on ABC.
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