3 female late night comedians mock 'cancel culture' and those who fetishize it

Late night comedians on cancel culture
(Image credit: Screenshots/YouTube/The Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live)

"Cancel culture — it's the No. 1 problem facing America today," deadpanned Desi Lydic on Thursday's Daily Show. "But what is 'cancel culture'? Well, I've been watching nothing but Fox News for 72 hours straight," she said, and cancel culture can be thought of as "political correctness plus discrimination multiplied by woke millennial shame monsters. If you don't hold the right opinions, you're canceled."

"I feel like the real reason they picked me to do this tonight is because I'm the only comedian who hasn't been canceled yet," Whitney Cummings said on Tuesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, "which is very weird, because I probably should have been a long time ago. I've said some very crazy things, but they were all on Comedy Central so no one can find them. If you want to cancel me, you literally have to buy a VCR on Craigslist."

Cummings thought maybe she crossed a line with an NFL joke in her guest monologue, "but it doesn't matter," she said. "Everything gets everybody in trouble now. People now can find anything to be divided about. Like, the fact that people have managed to politicize wearing a face mask in a pandemic, it makes me insane."

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"With the world in crisis and science being questioned in a violently divided country, I jumped at the chance to say something that potentially ends my career," said Iliza Shlesinger, Kimmel's guest host on Monday's show. "Having said that, let's talk about cancel culture. (Please don't cancel me.)"

Shlesinger began with a historical survey of online discourse. "Internet, people should be allowed to evolve and not have their career ended by something they drunkenly tweeted in an UberX after a Fallout Boy concert in 2015, hypothetically," she said. "And look, there are people who actually want to hurt others, and they have a pattern of saying horrible things and using social media to spread hate, so yes, roast those people."

But "we need to chill with canceling everyone," Shlesinger said. "I think we should support people who change their opinion for the right reasons, because it means they cared enough to read a book or to talk to a person who's different from them, and they're trying to do better. ... The truth is, we should all be working, every day, to learn and evolve as much as we can." Then she tried to cancel stuff. Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.