Blaze News original: ‘Comedians are not doing anything wrong’: Comic Kyle Lucey explains how he was canceled over a joke about his own childhood

News & Politics

Stand-up comedian Kyle Lucey has faced cancelations after other comedians hurled insults at angry protesters who were upset over a joke about Lucey’s own childhood.

The comedian was on an upward trajectory as a headlining comic when COVID-19 lockdowns hit, and with comedy clubs across the world being forced to close their doors, Lucey did what a select few comedians like Bert Kreischer and Ben Bankas did: He took his talents outdoors.

During an outdoor comedy show, passersby took grave offense at one of his most personal jokes and decided to sabotage his set.

“I was doing a show at a park, and people came up to me and pushed my amp down because I was doing a joke,” Lucey quickly recalled.

“A lot of my comedy comes from my own personal trauma. So, I was doing a joke about how my mom sexually assaulted me. That’s a very true story, it’s a very vulnerable story, and it’s a story that took me years to be comfortable talking about,” he explained.

“But I guess people who weren’t sitting at the show, they were like 50 yards away (it was at a park). They just saw a guy onstage saying the words ‘sexual assault,’ and they weren’t even paying attention, and then they came up to us, pushed our amp over, and said, ‘You guys are promoting rape culture!'”

Lucey recalled that while the angry pedestrians were voicing their opinion, a different comic he wasn’t familiar with heckled back and called one of the activists a “queer.”

The comedian stated that during the outdoor shows, any number of unknown people would take the stage.

“You’re rubbing elbows with everybody … there’s people who have schizophrenia and then people who have been headlining for 10 years.”

It was from that point that Lucey started seeing content circulating online that accused him of making light of sexual assault and being involved in a nonexistent comedy “troupe” that yelled homophobic slurs at people. This was followed by venues receiving threats, causing them to cancel Lucey’s shows.

To make matters worse, not only was Lucey not professionally involved with the other alleged comedian, he said that same person has made threats to him in other instances.

“Imagine I was anything other than a white man, imagine any other demographic was brave enough to talk about their sexual assault and then had venues pull away from them based off of no one wanting to do the research. Based off of the words of another person who literally has threatened me with death threats online,” the comic opined.

As venues were harassed about booking the comedian, Lucey noticed that progressive “Antifa” types were contradicting their own dogma in blaming him for talking about his experience.

“If I was a female comedian talking about my experience being sexually assaulted, I would be brave, but as a man, people see that and it’s like there’s no possible way I could be telling the truth. I’m making fun of it,” Lucey went on. “To then put any blowback on me … that’s victim blaming, that’s what you guys like to call it!”

Who decides to cancel a comedian?

In terms of officially making the call to cancel a show, Lucey said most promoters and bookers typically don’t have an opinion on any comedian’s content. It is usually the owners who are looking to avoid revenue loss or damage to property as opposed to having an ideological issue with a comic’s routine.

For example, some of the threats venues faced ahead of Lucey’s shows included having bricks thrown through their windows or having the locks on their doors jammed or clogged.

Due to coming off of the heels of COVID-19 lockdowns, certain venues told him that they didn’t want to take the chance of losing any more customers. Some clubs suggested moving his shows or changing the title in order for the outrage to subside.

“They’re in contact with us, the comedian, they’re not in contact with the mob. So, it’s easier for them just to say to the comedian, ‘Look, come back in a month, we’ll change the name for your show, I can’t have my building set on fire right now,’ and it’s just crazy that that happens,” Lucey pointed out.

The young comedian explained that in terms of online comedy videos and in-person sets, the dynamic is completely different.

“Starting the clip one second into my set as opposed to like 15 seconds” completely changes the dynamic of a joke, he said. This can lead to vastly different interpretations of a joke, especially when lacking context.

“Sometimes a clip is not framed right if there’s no context in it … it’s a completely different medium online, and so reality could definitely be bent in a way that suits whoever’s reposting the video.”

“Comedians are not doing anything wrong,” Lucey continued. “It’s our job to make fun of stuff, but sometimes you could just wake up one day, and someone took a little snippet of what you said, and they changed the context of it to make it sound very bad, then it goes online.”

“I know for several comedian friends of mine … what worked in front of the crowd they were in front of that night ends up being taken out of context in a clip. Then, they wake up to 100 death threats in the midst of being canceled, then venues just don’t want crazy people to come to their shows.”

Hate speech and Justin Trudeau

Growing up in Ajax, Ontario, Canada, the threat of reprisal from a government acting upon hate speech laws is a very real worry to Lucey.

In 2016, this very thing happened to Canadian comedian Mike Ward. Ward was paraded in front of a human rights tribunal over a joke about a disabled singer. He eventually won a Supreme Court appeal to overturn a $42,000 fine he received. The legal battle lasted nearly a decade.

A 2007 open mic in Vancouver, Canada, also resulted in a human rights tribunal after a comedian insulted two lesbians in the audience who were interrupting his show.

“It’s certainly very, very, very concerning,” Lucey said of hate speech laws. “It’s very alarming that laws like this could even be considered. [They could] damage comedy,” he added.

Lucey remarked that online content in Canada is “basically already there,” in terms of censorship. The comedian cited a video of himself calling his own family “white trash” that was censored on Instagram.

“I just said in a video, ‘I’m white trash,’ and it got taken down for hate speech … it’s just a stupid robot that’s behind putting things through or not, and it’s insane.”

“If things were to get down to the nitty-gritty and go to a human rights tribunal, I mean nobody would be creating anything,” he added.

As for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Lucey described him as “one of the mean girls” from the movie of the same name and called the leader “exactly what’s wrong with Liberals and Democrats.”

“The hypocrisy, not following through on his promises, being all talk, no action, and f**king things up financially like Democrats.”

“If he wants to run again, we should probably just do like a public pantsing,” Lucey joked.

The comedian doesn’t think that the general public is radicalized or wants to stomp out free speech to cancel comedians. In fact, he called the idea of shaming comedians “radicalized” thinking in itself.

“Most people you talk to don’t prescribe to this radicalized thought of policing thought, of shaming thought. I think most people exist in the confines of the law … nobody agrees with this.”

In order to thrive, there can’t be censorship of art, the comedian said. If everything is watered down to preapproved messaging, there will be no creativity.

“What a weird, dull world would it be if you went to an art gallery and every painting was flowers. It would be too clean.”

Without some off-color commentary, there would be “too much order, and it would just feel suffocating,” Lucey concluded.

Lucey has been touring as a headliner across Canada, and his tour dates can be found at KyleLucey.com. His first comedy special called “Damaged Goods” is on YouTube for free.

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