Woke celebrities do as they’re told by their cancel culture masters … or else.
The most farcical example? “Saved by the Bell” alum Mario Lopez apologized for suggesting it’s dangerous for 3-year-olds to determine their gender.
In other cases, stars virtue signal to increase their employment potential and keep past “problematic” work from suddenly resurfacing.
A few celebrities have seen the folly of the woke revolution. It’s often because they’ve been personally impacted by the new cultural rules, and they can’t help but publicly backpedal.
At least a little.
The most recent example? Pakistani-American comic actor Kumail Nanjiani of “Eternals” fame complained about not being able to snag a ripe role as a film or TV show villain. The bad guys are often the most interesting roles to play.
Why? Hollywood isn’t interested in making people of color the bad guy or gal these days. He sounds envious of fellow MCU star Sebastian Stan, whose versatile career includes playing the quasi-heroic Winter Soldier as well as the villain in horror movies like “Fresh.”
He does these big Marvel movies, and then he’ll play a psychopath. I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast non-white people as bad guys.
Nanjiani sees the problem, but he can’t connect the critical dots. Identity politics run wild means actors can no longer act as they did before. Female directors must helm female superhero films. Straight actors shouldn’t play gay characters. And casting a person of color as the villain could be seen as stigmatizing, if not racist.
He’s not the only progressive star who has seen the dark side of the current woke wave.
Jim Gaffigan suffered a bout of Trump Derangement Syndrome in recent years, pushing his formerly apolitical act to the Left. He’s even worse on Twitter, sadly, sounding like a bad MSNBC parody.
He’s also shifted his career to more acting gigs, and he’s acquitted himself well in films like “Chappaquiddick” and “Being Frank.” The latter 2018 film, alas, got him caught up in the woke community’s web.
The movie follows a father (Gaffigan) who secretly serves as the patriarch for not one but two families. Some of the film’s reviews weren’t kind, but not for the usual reasons.
He shared his concerns on “The Joe Rogan Experience” shortly after the film’s release.
A lot of the reviews … there was a tone of like, ‘how dare this white male [laughs] have two families. They couldn’t get beyond … they would insert, like, a social commentary onto a platform that was not for that. … Some reviews were like, ‘they under-served them!’ You know, the movie was really about my character and his son. … Because of the day we live in, it had to be deciphered through this kind of social critique that is just absurd. And it wasn’t here and there. It was a lot of reviews like that.
Far-Left comic Sarah Silverman once sang the praises of the woke revolution. Let the young social justice warriors teach us how to live our lives, she said.
That was in 2015.
She later said that she lost a coveted movie role because someone objected to a 2007 episode of “The Sarah Silverman Program” in which she donned blackface. The story actually spoke out strongly against racism, but Silverman’s choice of makeup, and the way she attacked the issue, effectively canceled her for the film in question.
After that confession, the liberal comic’s attitude toward woke shifted. Witness this 2020 rant from her podcast:
If we don’t give these people a path to redemption, then they’re going to go where they are accepted, which is the mother****ing dark side.
Silverman hasn’t modulated her progressive politics, but she sees the woke revolution in a far less flattering light than before.
Comic actor Aziz Ansari’s stage shtick often mocked white culture, aligning neatly with the woke mindset suggesting it’s acceptable to target that demographic. His career briefly flatlined after a 2018 blog-style expose written by a 23-year-old woman who accused the “Parks and Recreation” star of behaving aggressively during a sexual situation.
It was a “she said, he said” case, except the #MeToo Movement demanded her accusations be taken at face value without him offering a vigorous defense.
His career briefly crumbled as a result. Ansari slowly crept back into the limelight, treading carefully when the subject of the date in question came up. He uses his stand-up routine to mock white people, still, but it’s often to taunt them for their performative wokeness.
Not all stars follow this pattern. Tina Fey, one of the funnier comic minds of the 21st century, once told jokes with abandon. Her “30 Rock” NBC showcase mocked the Left and the Right, and it came of age right before woke took over.
So when she got hammered by the far Left over jokes on her Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Fey didn’t back down.
She said she makes it a policy not to explain jokes. That was 2016. She later realized she might get in trouble for sticking to that core belief, and she had a dramatic change of heart.
“Everyone’s figuring out what the new rules of comedy are. They definitely have changed for the better.”
Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
This article has been updated for clarity.