Michael Ian Black and Lou Perez Debate: “Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?” | Shore Fire Media

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12 September, 2023Print

Michael Ian Black and Lou Perez Debate: “Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?”

Live Open to Debate taping at the Comedy Cellar’s Village Underground, September 20

From comedy specials to TV shows and movies, what makes us laugh has come under scrutiny. Some old jokes and racy skits are considered off-limits in today's context, leading to public apologies, cancellations, and backlash. While society wants more inclusivity and awareness, comedy has now become a cultural battleground. Some argue that political correctness will stifle comedic creativity and worry it will affect comedy’s ability to tackle tough subjects, leading to self-censorship and lack of depth or free speech. Those who disagree say comedy, like all art forms, has always evolved with changing societal norms and it can still flourish without relying on harmful stereotypes or tropes. On Wednesday, September 20, Open to Debate (formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S.) returns to the Village Underground stage to debate the following question: “Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?” Press are invited to attend.

Two comedians with extensive standup and sketch experience hash it out. Arguing “YES” is Lou Perez, comedian, producer, and author of That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore. Arguing “NO” is Michael Ian Black, comedian, actor, and veteran of sketch comedy troupes The State and Stella.

The “Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?” debate will be held on Wednesday, September 20 at 6:00 PM ET (5:30 PM doors) at The Comedy Cellar at The Village Underground (130 W 3rd St. btw 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street), then air soon after on the syndicated public radio show and podcast "Open to Debate.” Reason editor-at-large Nick Gillespie will serve as guest moderator. Media can email raypadgett@shorefire.com for access to the in-person event.



* Lou Perez: Comedian, Producer, Author of "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" 
Lou Perez is a comedian, author, and producer. He was the head writer and producer of the Webby-Award winning "We the Internet TV" and half of the sketch comedy duo Greg and Lou. Lou produces the "Comedy Is Murder" series with Free the People, wrote the book "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore," and hosts The Lou Perez Podcast and The Wrong Take live debate series.

* Michael Ian Black: Actor and Comedian 
Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian, and writer who began his career with "The State," a sketch comedy troupe he co-founded at New York University, which went on to have a successful run on MTV. He then co-created the Comedy Central television series Viva Variety, a fake European variety show, and has created and starred in many other movies and TV shows. His appearances include Wet Hot American Summer (and has starred in its TV miniseries franchise), The Baxter, Another Period, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Sextuplets. Black is the author of several books for children, including the trio “I’m Bored,” “I’m Sad,” and “I’m Worried,” and the parody “A Child’s First Book of Trump.” His books for adults include “A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son,” the memoirs “You’re Not Doing It Right” and “Navel Gazing,” and the essay collection “My Custom Van.” Black also co-authored with Meghan McCain on “America, You Sexy Bitch”. As a stand-up comedian, Michael regularly tours the country, and he has released several comedy albums. He is the host of the podcast “Obscure with Michael Ian Black” and previously worked on “How to Be Amazing,” “Topics” (with Michael Showalter), and “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks” (with Tom Cavanagh).

Open to Debate addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. We are the nation's only nonpartisan, debate-driven media organization dedicated to bringing multiple viewpoints together for a constructive, balanced, respectful exchange of ideas. Open to Debate is a platform for intellectually curious and open-minded people to engage with others holding opposing views on complex issues. We know debate works to find common ground: On average, 32% of the Open to Debate audience changes their mind on contentious topics after hearing a debate. That’s the power of debate done right, and at scale, it can change the direction we’re headed in America. Open to Debate is broadcast as a weekly public radio program, carried on NPR stations including WNYC (#1 in the nation). Open to Debate is made available as a podcast, video series, and digital platform, and records episodes with live audiences nationwide. Visit opentodebate.org to become a member, access an archive of more than 220 debates, and attend live events.


For more information on Open to Debate, contact Ray Padgett (raypadgett@shorefire.com) or Mark Satlof (msatlof@shorefire.com) at Shore Fire Media.