Dave Attell Says He’s Uncancellable Because His Audience Knows How to Take a Joke
It’s not that stand-up comedian Dave Attell has toned down his act, notorious for tales of drunken debauchery and tasteless (depending on your taste) sex references. Remember, this is the guy who had a TV show on Showtime called Dave’s Old Porn, where he’d sit around with comics like Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla watching, well, Dave’s old porn.
If anything, Attell has leaned into his “hardcore dirty and darker-than-dark, blacker-than-Vantablack work,” evidenced by popular YouTube videos like “There Is No Romantic Way to Fist Someone.”
So nothing is out of bounds for Attell? “Everything goes,” Attell told Philadelphia Weekly in advance of a recent run of local shows. “Anyone who is part of the show gets it. It’s cool to just let it all out and roll. There are a lot of sex jokes and racial jokes that, if you didn’t see the crowds laughing, you would think they didn’t get. Our audiences get us, though. They want us to go there, and if they don’t, they’ll tell us immediately.”
Apparently, the people have no intention of telling Attell to pump the brakes. Philadelphia Weekly’s recap of his recent show confirms that “no race, gender or sexual orientation was spared” and “no PC rules were observed.”
How, in 2023, does a comic get away with it? Aren’t stand-ups always telling us they can’t get away with jokes because we’re in a cancel culture or something? The key, says Attell, is paying customers who have a sense of humor. “My audience can take a joke. What I would say about my audience is that they drink, they can take a joke and they tip big. They just want to hear the funny. They don’t want to be preached to. They don’t want a life lesson. They just want to have a good time.”
Okay, okay, Attell’s customers likely aren’t more special than anyone else’s. But as opposed to a lot of other outraged comics, Attell might actually be onto something when it comes to this cancel culture business: “People put an importance on comedy, and you see people tweeting about their outrage and for me, it’s not my scene.”
In other words, those fistfuls of irate “fans” who take to social media to gripe about a joke? Attell ignores them and somehow, life goes on. That doesn’t make his racial jabs, for example, any better but at least the guy isn’t crying about imaginary comedy guardrails. The only complaining he listens to? “I listen to the audience, and if they groan and moan, that means I need to fix the joke.”