The Babylon Bee’s video division uncorked the kind of clips “Saturday Night Live” once made.
Indie comics like Tyler Fischer, Ryan Long and Tim Dillon showed the power of alternative comedy buoyed by audiences eager for fresh laughs.
Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan and Ricky Gervais defied the Cancel Culture crowd for one more year.
Woke scolds Trevor Noah gave up his late-night throne while Samantha Bee’s basement-low ratings finally crushed her callous “Full Frontal” platform.
Still, most late-night monologues avoided the current Commander-in-Chief, “SNL” acted like a de facto arm of the Democratic party, and Hollywood failed to make a single comedy that could stand tall next to “The Hangover” or “Bridesmaids.”
What lies ahead in 2023?
More reasons for optimism despite a comedy culture that would rather support the status quo than question it.
John Cleese, once again, will lead by example. The Monty Python alum may be the most vocal opponent of woke comedy laws. And, at 82, he’s not willing to be silenced. His 2023 program for GB News, a right-leaning British channel, explores how what Elon Musk dubbed the “woke mind virus” is impacting funny business.
Best of all, Cleese is teaming with British comic Andrew Doyle for the untitled show. Doyle is not only a fervent critic of woke overreach but the mind behind Titania McGrath, Twitter’s funniest faux social justice warrior.
Chris Rock has gently pushed back against the woke mob in recent years. The “SNL” alum admitted he steers clear of college campuses to avoid crowds teeming with snowflakes.
Last year, he told Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” that comedy got boring when people started fearing the wrong joke would hurt their careers.
“I see a lot of unfunny comedians, I see unfunny TV shows, I see unfunny awards shows, I see unfunny movies — because everybody’s scared to make a move.”
And he caught heat for tweeting a story from The Federalist extolling the apolitical glory of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Still, Rock stayed quiet as the Cancel Culture mob came for Jimmy Fallon after a 20-year-old video of Fallon donning blackface to mimic Rock surfaced in 2020.
Rock’s upcoming comedy special suggests he’s ready to tackle woke head-on. “Selective Outrage,” to be streamed live on Netflix March 4.
That title hints at the reams of material that’s yet to be mined in the mainstream, like how country crooner Morgan Wallen got canceled for uttering the “n-word” once, in private, while First Son Hunter Biden texted it aplenty sans consequences.
Will Rock go there? Can he afford not to at this point in the culture?
Movie comedies essentially hit a wall when woke took over Hollywood. Gone are the days when ribald romps like “Step Brothers,” “Superbad” or “Old School” made audiences howl.
Peter Farrelly misses that era, too.
The director of “There’s Something About Mary,” “Kingpin” and “Dumb and Dumber” vows a return to form with “Ricky Stanicky.” The upcoming comedy, which could earn a 2023 release date, follows a group of friends who blame their bad behavior on their rambunctious (but fictional) chum Ricky.
When their spouses demand to meet Ricky in the flesh, the buddies scramble to hire someone (John Cena) to play their farcical friend.
The Oscar-winner for “Green Book” thinks the time is right, and ripe, for a no holds barred romp. Again.
“That’s the opportunity now for somebody to break out with an R-rated comedy and the whole world is going to see it and they’re going to say, why can’t we have more of this? I miss them.”
Russell Brand starred in two such comedies – “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Get Him to the Greek.” Now, the British comic is red pilling viewers via his YouTube channel, which boasts north of 6.11 million subscribers.
The comedian tackles everything from American politics to pandemic overreach, and he does it while constantly thanking his fans for their support. That spirit, and his eagerness to leaven his punditry with laughter, makes him formidable in the new year, and beyond.
For those who prefer old-school stand up, three performers are hitting the road in 2023 promising woke-free entertainment.
British superstar Ricky Gervais has been pummeling Identity Politics along with Cleese for some time. It’s just jokes, he reminds us, and his 2022 Netflix special “SuperNature” proved he’s unafraid of his noisy critics.
He’ll be coming to some major American halls – the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall in the new year, and there’s no chance he’ll be pulling his punches upon his arrival.
Few think of Jeff Dunham when the subject of woke comedy rears its ugly head. The ventriloquist quietly avoids those unwritten bylaws by following the funny wherever it may lead. That meant creating the “Fireside Shat” series mocking President Joe Biden and scolding uber-partisan comics (without naming names, but we know who they are) for putting clapter above joy.
Dunham will be touring the nation in 2023, along with a “SNL” alum who changed his brand to battle back against free speech suppression.
Rob Schneider’s early career yielded indelible characters (“SNL’s” Richmeister) and iconic film roles (“Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”) alike. The left-leaning comic, pals with Cleese off-screen, is now one of the most vocal foes of speech suppression.
He weaponizes his Twitter feed to promote free speech issues and blast those eager to smite independent thought. He, too, will be on tour in 2023, and you won’t find him apologizing for past sketches or sandpapering down the rough edges of his material.
Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.