It can be argued that Spade benefited a bit from cancel culture, recently wrapping up a guest-hosting stint on “Bachelor In Paradise” after regular host Chris Harrison departed the franchise amid a racism scandal.
Speaking to Variety about his time on the show, Spade noted that “Bachelor” producer Mike Fleiss gave him the freedom to say what he wanted during his time on the show, even if that meant lightly mocking the series. While the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member enjoyed his freedom as a guest host, he was asked about the fact that many comedians find themselves under more restrictions than ever these days.
“It’s very dicey. It’s very tricky,” Spade responded. “You used to have to say anything to go as far as you could, to push the envelope, to get attention, and people would be like, ‘I like this guy. He’s pushing it.’ And in comedy clubs, audiences really appreciate that.”
He added: “Now you say the one wrong move and you’re canceled. It’s a very tough world out there.”
Spade, who got his big break in comedy in 1990 on “SNL,” noted that the world of comedy clubs has always played by its own rules. While he says that he does not believe being mean to people is funny, he explained that an “outsider” can come into a comedy club and miss the point of the kind of satire that he’s become famous for.
“I think all the comedians have gotten together, in a way, to say we just have to keep doing what we were doing, and the people that come to the shows will appreciate it,” he explained. “But you get an outsider that comes in and goes, ‘I was so offended.’ The intent is not to be mean… If the intent is to do it as a joke or a spin on something, and it is mean to people, but you’re just making fun of that, I don’t think that’s horrible. I’ve been in the business doing it for 20 years, so I hope comics are allowed to be comics. I really hope so.”
Spade is hardly the first comedian to comment on the dangers of cancel culture for people in the comedy world. He’s joined by Kevin Hart, Seth Rogen, as well as his former “SNL” cohorts Jon Lovitz and Chris Rock, in speaking out about the new climate comedians find themselves in.