Hannah Einbinder Rebuts Concept of ‘Cancel Culture’ in Comedy: ‘There Are People Across This World Whose Freedom of Speech Is Actually Limited’

The hit Max series “Hacks” is back for its third season after an extended hiatus, once again mining the struggles of an aging comedienne and a young, developing writer for chuckles and heart. Winning multiple awards for its previous seasons, the show can claim a strong degree of authority on what is and isn’t funny and that extends to the series’ two leads, Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. With the state of comedy and what is permissible remaining an evergreen conversation, Einbinder reiterated her previously stated opinion in a recirculated red carpet interview with Refinery29.

“You can say anything,” Einbinder said, then added, “you just have to be a good joke writer. And you have to be smart. You can’t just be a bigot and racist and homophobic and transphobic. Or actually, you can and you’ll have a wonderful career. ‘Cause a lot of people will come out and support that.”

More from IndieWire

Einbinder isn’t wrong. Plenty of comics have experienced pushback or been “canceled” only to return to the stage a short time later with a new act that plays to an audience more supportive of their bad behavior and offensive vitriol.
In reflecting on this, Einbinder said to Refinery29, “That’s why it’s so ironic to me when people are like, ‘You can’t say anything!’ It’s like, ‘You’re doing arenas, like, what are you talking about?’ Your career is thriving because you’re playing to a market of people who want you to say fucked up shit.”

Others, like Jerry Seinfeld, counter this by claiming comedy is under attack by the P.C. culture and the “extreme left,” but Einbinder rebuts this. What really offends her is how these comics wear their shunning or conceived silencing as a badge of honor, when in fact, they’re still very much in the zeitgeist.

“They can say anything,” said Einbinder. “You want to talk about people who, like, can’t say anything — there are people across this world whose freedom of speech is actually limited. Some fucking guy on stage who’s like saying his wife’s a bitch? He can do that. No one’s really getting in trouble for that. I just think it’s bullshit.”

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.