Hersh Rephun is a funny guy. It was fun to interview him on ComedyBeat here, here and here. But when I asked him if political correctness can play a role in comedy, he turned serious (though he couldn’t help himself from slipping in a wisecrack from time to time).
I asked him if a comedian is exempt from the strictures of PC by virtue of his role as an iconoclast, or if racist and gender and other slurs are always out of bounds.
“Aha!” he said when he heard the words “political correctness.”
“That’s a very interesting question,” he said, “because standup comedy is the last bastion of free speech. Comedians have to be funny and clever, but we don’t have to follow anybody else’s directives because we are also here to tell the truth. Hopefully we can do that in a way that makes the truth digestible and amusing, but sometimes we tell it like it is and that can be dangerous.”