Russell Peters and Keenan Ivory Wayans Talk Comedy and Political Correctness

Last Comic Standing Judges Russell Peters and Keenan Ivory Wayans Talk Comedy

Last Comic Standing Judges Russell Peters and Keenan Ivory Wayans Talk Comedy

This week, in anticipation of the two hour Last Comic Standing Season finale, which airs Thursday at 9pm/8c on NBC, Russell Peters and Keenan Ivory Wayans talked about their experiences on the show, the state of comedy, and who didn’t make the season finale that should have been there.  Russell said he would have loved to see comics Joe Machi, and Rocky LaPorte competing in the season finale;  both were eliminated in recent weeks. But there was also a comedian from the invitational rounds, that Peters felt should have moved ahead, “If you go back to the beginning, there was a guy named Joe Zimmerman who I still to this day regret not getting put forth on the show.” Joe’s clip didn’t make it to the official Last Comic Standing page, but you can watch his set here.  Keenan also had some regrets. “there were a couple of guys in the beginning who I know are great stand ups like Wil Sylvince, that I wish had done another set so that they could have moved further,” Wayans said.

I think the public and the media …are almost trying to ruin comedy.

Both comedy veterans talked about the effect political correctness and social backlash has on comedy, but took very different approaches. Peters talked about the dangers of political correctness and how it negatively impacts the art of comedy.

“I think the public and the media and whoever dictates what political correctness is, are the people that are almost trying to ruin comedy.  Comedy is about people saying things that everyone is afraid to say.  Comedy is the last bastion of freedom of speech, and America is always bragging about our freedoms and the rest of the world wants our freedoms and they don’t like our freedoms and we don’t have that anymore.  we have to word everything so carefully now that it actually makes our job far less organic, because we can’t speak the way we need to speak.  and i think the younger generation of comics comes up with that which i think is great for them because they come up wording things a certain way and writing a different way which ads to a new element of comedy.  but there will always be the old guard like mys elf and keenan who don’t care about political correctness and say what we need to say.”

It’s a comedian’s job to defy political correctness.

Keenan took another approach, pointing out that its the comedians’ job to confront conservatism and to handle any backlash or repercussions that result.

“It’s a comedian’s job to defy political correctness. i think thats why people come to see you. You’re supposed to be the guy who says what no one else will say and that’s why people laugh. So, I think there has always been political correctness, there has always been conservatism. When I did In Living Color, we were at the height of conservatism, it was the Reagan era, and it was just my job to come in and say all the things that nobody else would say, and I caught hell. You’re not a good comedian if you’re not catching hell. So in terms of …being able to gauge it, you shouldn’t even try. You should just go out and say it. Be funny. And the audience will let you know. As long as they’re laughing, you’re in the zone.

Although NBC has announced that Last Comic Standing will be back again next year, there has been no word on whether host JB Smoove, or any of the judges will be returning for another season.  Neither Russell or Keenan have been officially asked to come back on board, but both of the judges said that they’d love to come back, if they were asked.

The Last Comic Standing two hour Series Finale airs this Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9pm/8c.


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