Limiting speech doesn't change the nature of hate, says Josh Lieb. Thoughts can be hateful and stupid—but should they be criminal?\r\n
Josh Lieb is an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech. As a comedy writer and producer on late night programs like The Daily Show and The Tonight Show, he knows that the freedom to essentially roast leading political figures is vital to true democracy. Jokes made in bad taste may worry you, but you should be absolutely petrified if you’re not hearing jokes and satire at all. It’s the same for hate speech, says Lieb: limiting expression has never changed the nature of hate, it only leads to an Orwellian path—and it’s during these exact moments in history, when the political divisions are so high, that thought criminalization and oppressive control find their way in. Josh Lieb is the author of I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President and Ratscalibur.
In comedy there is always the temptation to go for the easy jokes – but now, more than ever, comedians have to challenge themselves.
What’s that smell? It’s political humor in 2017, according to Josh Lieb, former producer and writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "There's always a temptation in comedy to go for the low hanging fruit, to go for the easy jokes. And right now it's not even that the fruit is low-hanging – it's on the ground, it's rotting on the ground," says Lieb. When your grannie gets on Twitter to ridicule the current administration, she’s as funny as someone who’s studied and performed comedy for a decade. Political absurdity is stealing the comedic limelight, and comedians must evolve and aim much higher. Josh Lieb is the author of I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President and Ratscalibur.