Darren Knight believes comedy is not about race or sexism, says "people come here to laugh"
Darren Knight is a self-proclaimed 'fastest rising comedian' in American history. He first got into the comedy world after his videos starring his alter ego, Southern Momma, blew up on social media. His popularity soared quickly, and he was named top 10 comics to watch in 2018 by Variety.
This allowed Knight to perform in 2018’s Just For Laughs, the largest and most prestigious stand-up comedy festival in the world. However, it was at this event that the comic got embroiled in his career’s ugliest and most controversial issue when the audience did not accept his views on sexual orientation and race.
Knight Believes Comedy Should Not Be about Sexual Orientation and Race
When Knight got up on the Just For Laughs' stage, he probably thought the audience would be blown away by his act. However, he received significant flak for saying comedy should not be about sexual orientation and race. He was even booed off the stage for speaking out against fellow acts that he thought were using their slots to talk about issues including race and gender politics.
Comedy’s not about race or sexism – people come here to laugh.
The entire event blew up on Twitter. He was called a racist and homophobe for what he said. However, the comic did not bend his knees at the pressure applied by cancel culture and stood by his words.
Later, VICE News covered the event, and Knight told his side of the story. He clarified that being funny was the real quality a comic needed. He stated, “It doesn’t matter who on the stage is straight. It doesn’t matter who on the stage is gay. It doesn’t matter who on the stage is white. It doesn’t matter who on the stage is black, Latino, Asian. That should not matter.”
When Knight was asked about what mattered, he answered, “If you are a comedian, being funny. If you are a contractor, building something that’s not gonna collapse on someone’s head. As a comedian, it’s not my job to single anybody out.”
Being Booed for Saying He Wasn’t Going to Discuss Something Was Weird
Because of the Just For Laughs incident, Knight received a lot of negative attention and lost many fans. But an equally massive number of loyal fans stayed by his side, as they knew that how he was treated was unfair and that his statement held some truth.
He opened up about his experience and views regarding the 20 with Houston Press. He said that he would not beat up any group for their race or sexual orientation and that him being shunned by people who held different views was unfair.
People in the audience paid to come see a show. They worked their ass off all week, the last thing they want to hear you whine… and I am not gonna do that. And every comedian before me that night had done that. I just did my bit and had a great time. But it was weird to sit there and say you’re not going to talk about something, and get booed for that.
He still stands his ground on keeping comedy away from serious topics.
We have so many celebrities that have an opinion on things, and I think that’s great. But when it comes down to show time, I don’t think that’s the platform to beat anyone up. I don’t think you should do a 20 minute segment beating up any particular race or for their sexual orientation or stuff like that.
Knight is also rumored not to have many friends within the comedy family, thanks to his outspoken views that often get him into trouble.