Joan Rivers Wouldn’t Get Canceled Over Controversial Jokes, Says Daughter Melissa
On what would have been Joan Rivers’ 90th birthday, her daughter Melissa told Fox News Digital yesterday that cancel culture wouldn’t have come for the comic. “I would have hoped that she would have gotten sort of grandfathered in not having to be so politically correct, kind of like Dave Chappelle,” Melissa said. “And I think she would have. But I do think it would be incredibly frustrating.”
Melissa’s choice of Chappelle as a “grandfathered in” comic aside, she might have been right about Joan getting a pass. Other older comics such as Don Rickles seemed to slide under the radar in their later days despite jokes that would have landed younger comics in hot water. But even if Joan wasn’t in the line of fire herself, Melissa believes her mother would have been “very frustrated” by cancel culture and that “she would be happy that it’s swinging back toward the middle from such extremes.”
We’re not sure what Melissa means by culture “swinging back to the middle,” but we’re glad someone sees it that way. And to be clear, she doesn’t think all cancellations are inappropriate. “Some people justifiably need to be canceled, some people do not,” she explained. “And I think we went through a phase where it was too much.”
For example? Rivers points to Kevin Hart, the comic who lost his 2019 gig as Oscars host after homophobic Twitter jokes from his past resurfaced. He eventually apologized — after initially refusing to apologize — in order to keep the Oscars gig. In either event, Hart should have gotten a pass, says Rivers. “The material was taken out of context because at the time, that was okay,” she argued. “Would he have made those jokes now? No. At the time he made those jokes, those were okay. And the audience laughed. And I think that’s where she would have gotten frustrated. I don’t know about you, but I am not the same person I was even five years ago.”
I’m not buying Melissa’s argument that homophobic jokes were okay in the 2000s because audiences laughed — boy, that is a can of worms — but let’s hear her out on the idea that people, including comedians, can evolve. “That doesn’t mean things people didn’t say were wrong or outrageous or offensive or any of those things. But it’s very hard to judge people, including judge yourself, most importantly, of who you were 20 years ago. … I mean, people have to evolve.”
Unless you’re grandfathered in, of course. Then you can apparently say whatever the hell you want.