Will Smith is still getting a ton of flack for the slap heard around the world. Smith took offense to a joke Chris Rock made about wife Jada Pinkett’s bald head and delivered the shot on stage at the Oscars. Since then, things have not been so great for the Fresh Prince star.

Many comedians have responded to the controversy from the perspective of a free speech issue. Bill Maher counts himself among them. The “Real Time” host recently said the reaction to the slap was emblematic of a larger “war on jokes.”

On the most recent episode of his show, Maher aimed at those who have been critical of Rock’s joke. Bill claimed the joke was harmless. The comedian believes the entire reaction is an attack on freedom of speech.

“Comedians have been under attack for some time. So I must defend my tribe. This war on jokes must end.”

Bill Maher described the community that has led the backlash as humor-challenged. The jokes that we used to laugh at, he said, always had a bit of an edge. That has been lost, and it’s affecting comedy at large.

Maher believes the Will Smith incident is just one of many that have led to the downfall of free speech in the United States. The segment was heavily critical of the “woke” culture that many comics have stood up against. Time will tell if the trend continues, or if Americans’ tastes have simply changed over time.

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Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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