By now most of you have probably heard the news about how NBC tried to bury Ronan Farrow's Weinstein story last year. It was a pretty disgusting move by the head honchos at NBC. At the time Farrow was calling attention to the fact that one of the most powerful men in Hollywood might just be a rapist, and NBC allegedly tried to protect the rapist by preventing Farrow from going public with the details of the investigation. The different accounts of how this all went down vary a bit, but it's pretty obvious what really happened. Farrow was eventually given the Pulitzer Prize for his work.
Enter Norm Macdonald, a humble man who is something of a comedy genius, and he also happens to be the same guy who invented the catchphrase "fake news" back when he was the host of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update (which, coincidentally, also happens to air on NBC).
Norm was supposed to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this week (Tuesday night) but NBC canceled the scheduled engagement at the last minute because apparently Norm's jokes about the #MeToo movement were a bit too much for NBC to handle.
According to the Associated Press, Norm also had materiel on Roseanne Barr and Louis CK - all of which was supposedly unfit for NBC viewers, according to the censors at the network.
There's nothing more vulgar than censorship of speech, so why did they do it?
NBC released a statement saying they canceled the appearance, "out of sensitivity to our audience."
Sensitivity, you say? Gosh, is that also why you tried to cancel Ronan's story about Weinstein?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Norm said he's “happy the #MeToo movement had slowed down a little bit.”
Not because he supports rape, but because he feels the accused no longer receive a second chance in this hypersensitive political climate we're currently living in.
"There is no forgiveness," he added.
He used Louis CK and Roseanne Barr as examples of how of this statement rings true.
The #MeToo movement hit Hollywood like a freight train. The broad assortment of people connected to this scandal placed the names of men who may be guilty of highly unspeakable acts on the same list as folks who very likely didn't even break the law.
While people like Weinstein and NBC's own Matt Lauer have been accused of doing some pretty disgusting things, comedians such as Aziz Ansari and Louis CK were lumped into the same category as actual rapists (but what they were accused of doing is far milder by comparison).
This is the point Norm Macdonald was trying to make with his new materiel that he was scheduled to perform on The Tonight Show this week, but NBC doesn't care - they canceled his appearance anyway.
Jimmy Fallon, a standup comedian who hosts the Tonight Show, is now part of an institution that censors comedians. He'll regret this someday, just like one his role models did when he took part in a similar act of censorship.
For those who aren't aware, this sort of thing has actually happened before to comedian Bill Hicks and talk show host David Letterman (twice, actually). In 1984 Bill Hicks, Houston's most legendary standup comic, was scheduled to appear on Late Night with David Letterman, which was a show on NBC. NBC felt Hicks' standup materiel was too racy, so they censored his comedy (some joke about people in wheelchairs). Then it happened again almost 10 years later in 1993 - but this time, on CBS. Hicks was telling jokes involving delicate topics (religion and abortion) and CBS chose not to air the standup routine on Letterman's show. Several months later, Bill Hicks died of cancer.
Years after all of this took place, David Letterman admitted it was the greatest regret of his career when he let the network censor Bill Hicks so he played the lost standup routine on his goodbye show as he reached retirement.
Bill Hicks, much like Norm Macdonald, was telling jokes of a sensitive nature at a time in history when people were being overly sensitive. But it's times like this when we're the most sensitive that we most desperately need to be figuratively slapped in the face with a crude joke and a little dose of reality. Bill Hicks and Norm Macdonald aren't politicians. They haven't been accused of hurting anyone with anything other than words and jokes – words and jokes that some consider to be in poor taste.
But, to quote your grandmother when you were 4 years old, "sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you, snowflake." Your grandma probably didn't actually call you a snowflake, but you get the idea. The jokes were offensive, sure, but that was the point. They're just jokes. Jokes are meaningless and words can't hurt you unless you voluntarily choose to be hurt.
Someday it's possible that Jimmy Fallon, like Letterman, will regret the decision to censor Macdonald on his show. Maybe he'll play the lost standup routine on the goodbye-episode of his show. We don't know yet - we'll have to wait and see.
Norm Macdonald has, for years, poked fun at people on both the Left and the Right, and it’s very likely his appearance on The Tonight Show would have been a flash in the pan for whatever the offense-industry chose to be upset about this week. But by censoring his speech, all the NBC execs did was help shed light on their own hypocrisy. This is the same NBC TV network who literally tried to prevent the #MeToo movement from happening. Now they're trying to protect us from jokes.
Norm is currently promoting a new show that's soon to debut on Netflix.
I'll be watching.
MANHATTAN, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Comedian Norm MacDonald performs on stage at Carolines on Broadway in Manhattan, NY, on November 13, 2015. (Photo by Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)