“The title of this ‘contract’ nearly made me puke.”
A comedian this week rejected an offer to perform in a university “safe space.” Instead, he booked a show to mock the constraints put on his performance by the students who invited him.
Konstantin Kisin announced on Twitter Tuesday that his new stand-up set would be at a London comedy club that evening. He said it would be “strictly based on complying with those rules, where you’re not allowed to criticize religion, atheism, and a whole bunch of other things.”
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) December 11, 2018
On Monday, Kisin had tweeted out a contract that a university student group demanded he sign before appearing at their “Comedy night” scheduled for next month. Of the “Behavioural Agreement Form,” he joked, “The title of this ‘contract’ nearly made me puke.”
The agreement required him to promise to be “respectful and kind” during his performance, and enumerated some of the types of bigotry that must be avoided: “racism, sexism, classism, ageism, abelism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism.”
“It does not mean that these topics can not be discussed,” the contract concluded. “But, it must be done in a respectful and non-abusive way.”
I just received an invitation to perform *comedy* at a university…
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) December 10, 2018
Kisin, a Russian-born British Jew, did not identify the university in question and blacked out a reference to the organizer in the contract. However, he noted that it was regarding “an UNPAID charity gig,” and the contract promised that all proceeds from the event would be donated to UNICEF.
Further, Kisin linked to an article by PJ Media, a right-wing news website, which quoted him and outed the organizer as the UNICEF on Campus chapter at the University of London.
According to PJ Media, the student club has a blanket policy that requires all comedians to sign the contract. Citing emails it had reviewed, PJ Media reported that Kisin was one of five local comedians who were sent the contract.
Kisin is the co-host of the TRIGGERnometry podcast, which criticizes campus politics and censorship. The show is part of a backlash to college culture for allegedly helping to create an emotionally fragile and intellectually retarded generation.
Some prominent comedians have publicly complained that college students can no longer take a joke.
Other, mostly progressive, commentators have pushed back on such concerns, suggesting that there is some value to an education in social justice, and that the problem is far from the cultural crisis that critics suggest.
However, Kisin has apparently bet that he can get at least a routine’s worth of material out the phenomenon.