Applause, applause, to Lewis and to Calendar for airing his views on that aspect of modern American comedy, which is indeed ugly.
But one gets the impression that Lewis has arrived at his judgment recently. Where has he been for the last 10 years?
Cruelty, insensitivity, vulgarity, obscenity, sleaze and raunch have been characteristic of the new comedy for at least that long. And not only in comedy clubs but on both late-night network and anytime on cable TV as well.
If the phenomenon were restricted only to comedy, that would be bad enough because the comedy industry is of enormous social importance. But the real tragedy is that there is a large audience for sleaze, particularly among people who seem to have forgotten how to laugh heartily and to have replaced the physical response of laughter with that of a mindless sort of whooping that they originally learned from attending rock concerts.