In the 1960s, cops arrested Lenny Bruce for word crimes, but today the policed have become the police. Many people are bent on silencing jokes and opinions that offend them, but now some of the sharpest comedic minds, people like Penn Jillette, Adam Carolla, Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald, Karith Foster, and Jim Norton, are striking back at outrage culture. After all, what’s at stake is more than comedy—it’s free speech and the wild and weird process that fuels human progress. Today most Americans recognize the prosecution of Lenny Bruce as an embarrassing episode. Yet history may be repeating itself. From social media to college campuses, our nation rages with outrage. And now the same society that thought it absurd to arrest people for word crimes supports laws that would arrest people for word crimes.
Imagine the future if we can’t learn how to take a joke.
This film can be watched on Peacock and Amazon Prime.