College campuses have long been steady venues for touring comedians. The crowds, after all, are often triple the size of those you’ll find in most clubs, and the money’s good if you’ve yet to hit that elusive “arena stage” of stardom. It was curious, then, when, a few years ago, some of the world’s most successful standups—Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock among them—said that they wouldn’t play colleges due to them being “so P.C.”
“It was just like, This is not as much fun as it used to be,” Rock told New York magazine back in 2014.
Now, John Mulaney, a comedian leading the generation that’s followed in the footsteps of those names, has raised an eyebrow at their assertions, positing that the “P.C.” talk is a smokescreen for another issue altogether.
Speaking at the New Yorker Festival this past weekend, Mulaney responded to a question about whether he’d also bail on college gigs for those reasons. “Can I say something honestly?” he began. “They don’t do colleges because their fees are too high for colleges to afford. I mean, I’d probably say that to their faces. It’s weird for them to attribute it to political correctness. They don’t have to play colleges. Why they phrase it that way, I don’t know. I just found that strange.”
The older you get, it seems, the more concepts of “political correctness” bother you, which makes sense when you consider that it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Mulaney and his ilk, on the other hand, came up in a world where a certain amount of sensitivity was desired, and, *gasp*, they found you could still be funny without alienating swaths of your audience.