Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, and Kevin Hart are all nominated and honestly what is going on?

Advertisement
Grammy Noms Are Out, and Canceled Men Have Won
Credit: Getty Images

Grammy nominations for 2022 have been announced, and scrolling through the list, it's all pretty predictable. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo are competing in the best video category. Hey, we love those videos! Fun! Next up: Comedy Album of the Year puts Kevin Hart up against Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle.

Wait. 

Louis C.K., like, forcibly masturbated in front of female colleagues, Louis C.K.? Louis C.K. the slovenly male comedian whose career was supposedly tanked by several sexual misconduct allegations made against him back in 2017, never to be heard from again? Because cancel culture and all the cancelings in the culture? 

I was only surprised to see his name mid-scroll because I'm better at personally canceling people, i.e. removing them from my consciousness and consumption, than Hollywood or the awards machine seem to be. I forgot he existed and certainly didn't know he was out here with new material. Of course, his career kept on kicking.

Louis C.K. performed to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden this August — his website says it was "gosh darn great to be back." His comedy tour continues to snake its way across the United States, honoring tickets meant for 2020 shows that were canceled (not the way you want) by the coronavirus pandemic. 

VIDEO: Louis C.K. Admits Sexual Misconduct Allegations 'Are True'

Elsewhere on the supposedly funniest people of the year awards list we find Kevin Hart, who's more often the butt of jokes than really delivering excellent ones, and he has been canceled, as he says "what, three or four times," mostly for tweets containing homophobic slurs. As a result of those tweets resurfacing, he had to step down as host of the 2019 Oscars, and the Academy has seemingly chosen to never have a host again. Presumably, watching every celebrity make Zoom jokes is better than ever having Kevin Hart return. And yet here is, being nominated for a Grammy for his work. Are we really sending our best? 

Third and most recent — the non-cancel that stings the most in that it literally JUST happened — we find Dave Chappelle also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album of the year. This comes just about six weeks after the release of his standup special, Dave Chappelle: The Closer, on which he declares himself "proudly team TERF," while making other more violent anti-trans comments as jokes. It was a whole thing and several people, this site included, were quick to offer up lists of pretty much any other comedian to enjoy aside from ones who do direct harm to disenfranchised communities.

Women have been through enough this year — trans and queer people have been through enough for all time — that we collectively deserve better than to see the very people who turn comedy into triggers, or worse, be lauded for their skill. If it didn't seem passé by now, I'd say "time's up," but I thought time had already been up, before any of these men were fake-canceled, or were given the chance to continue releasing albums or selling out arenas to other probably-should-be-canceled men who eat it up, the more misogyny the better! We love to laugh at people's pain and not examine our own involvement in that pain!

Marilyn Manson, who responded to sexual assault allegations Evan Rachel Wood and several other women made against him by saying, more or less, that his art is always misunderstood, also received a Grammy nomination (for his work on Kanye West's Donda). If he weren't in prison I'd half expect to see Harvey Weinstein enjoying the 2022 Grammys from his usual awards show table: front and center. 

Rounding out the category for Best Comedy Album of 2021, we have Lavell Crawford, whom I enjoyed in Breaking Bad and don't think has been canceled since; Lewis Black, because he is still alive and that alone qualifies him; and Chelsea Handler, a woman, though not free of attempted cancelings for her own occasionally off-color (okay, offensive) humor. But Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, and Kevin Hart leave a particularly bad taste in the mouth at a time when awards shows have been heaped with praise as a place where celebrities use their platform for good. What are we, as an industry, saying when we choose to use a platform such as the Grammys, like this?

Each of these men probably has a tight 10 ready on how cancel culture doesn't "get" comedy, or they've been unfairly targeted by the PC police. The worst part is, the Grammys are going to give at least one of them the mic.

2022 Grammy Nominees for Best Comedy Album

  • The Comedy Vaccine
    Lavell Crawford
     
  • Evolution
    Chelsea Handler
     
  • Sincerely Louis CK
    Louis C.K.
     
  • Thanks For Risking Your Life
    Lewis Black
     
  • The Greatest Average American
    Nate Bargatze
     
  • Zero F***s Given
    Kevin Hart