The updated versions of both Will and Grace and Curb Your Enthusiasm premiered last week with disappointing results. The series may or may not be your cup of comedy tea, but what was painfully revealed is that selfish white people comedy does not play in the current climate. Will and Grace’s petulance over “high class problems” like redecorating the White House and dating Republicans stands in stark contrast to today’s serious political and racial issues diving our country.
It was our hope that these formerly biting and cutting edge shows would rise to the occasion and acknowledge the absurdity of the times we are living in when women’s rights are in danger of being rolled back, people of color are vilified for even suggesting that they deserve equal treatment, and government is under scrutiny for election tampering.
But Larry David’s cringe comedy taking on genital mutilation and pot shots at whether a lesbian was too masculine to be considered the bride at her own wedding feel frivolous and woefully out of date.
These shows have never been known for their diversity. They have always remained firmly entrenched in a playground of white superiority. So why should we look to them now as a source of hope? Because that’s what they promised. Comforting, familiar, insightful, forward thinking comedy. They just didn’t deliver. And because they missed their chance last week there’s a good chance that at least as far as a diverse audience goes, they won’t get another.