Russian-born comedian Kinstantin Kisin received an offer for a gig on a college campus. That pleased him until he read the agreement he would have to sign to accept the gig.
He said he literally wanted to vomit. In order to get the gig, he would be unable to tell any joke that involves “racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism. If any such topic was covered, it must be done in a “respectful and non-abusive way.” How do you tell a joke that’s not abusive in some way?
According to the agreement, you could only tell jokes about albino bunnies and people whose name starts with the three letters qzy.
I just received an invitation to perform *comedy* at a university…
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) December 10, 2018
Kisin told Radio 1 Newsbeat, “I just think it reflects an attitude among a group of people — people at university, particularly — where it seems that they have become places of indoctrination rather than learning. Students are being taught to prevent offense rather than to seek truth and pursue experiences.”
“Universities used to be all about that, but now it seems they’re places where students are being taught to be woke,” he continued. “I think it reflects a broader issue, where increasingly there are people who value safety, or what they perceive to be safety.”
The comedian discussed the night he read the agreement during a performance on “Comedy Unleashed,” a “comedy night specifically focused on ensuring that comedians have a place where they don’t self-censor.”
If you choose to find offense, then there’s plenty of room to do so. I didn’t turn down this gig because I’m some racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist comedian. I turned down this gig because if you sign a contract like that, you’re exposing yourself to someone’s bad interpretation. If someone writes a contract like that, the chances are that they will be hypersensitive, vigilant and trying to catch you out. I’m just not interested in that.