While some comedians aren’t too happy with our more sensitive age, others are fine with it. Entertainers ranging from Seth Rogen to Katt Williams have bristled at the negative reaction to so-called “cancel culture,” telling colleagues, among other things, to simply own up that times change and some jokes don’t age like fine wine. Tina Fey is another. And while on a recent panel at the Tribeca Film Festival, the performer and writer acknowledged that we’re all in the process of wrestling with “terrible” pop culture moments once considered kosher.
As per Mediaite, Fey was on a panel for Girls5eva, the new Peacock comedy for which she’s an executive producer and which concerns a former ’90s all-girl pop group who reunite after one of their songs gets a big time sample. One of the things the characters realize is that some of the stuff they said and did circa the Clinton era doesn’t look so good in the Biden age. That caused Fey to reflect on how we’re all going through a similar cultural reckoning.
“We’re culturally looking back at stuff that we all took as totally normal, fun and just cool… whether it’s the way David Letterman dismantled Lindsay Lohan or an underage Britney Spears singing ‘Slave 4 U,’” she told the crowd, referring to a 2013 interview that caused a stir when it resurfaced a few months back, as well as the documentary Framing Britney Spears. “We’re all looking back at those things now and being like, ‘Oh, we all cosigned that? Oh, that’s terrible.’”
In the past Fey has been critical of her own work. Around this time last year she asked streamers to pull four episodes of 30 Rock that featured blackface jokes. It was part of a strange trend around the turn of the previous decade in which otherwise progressive shows, like Community, Scrubs, and the American The Office, traded in racial jokes that were once thought to be “edgy” but look bad in retrospect, in part because they were always bad.