Comedian Andrew Schulz: Interview

Article by Leah McSweeney

They don’t want to believe that their industry is crumbling right in front of them. It’s like the person who won’t leave their house in a hurricane. They see the hurricane, but they don’t want to believe their house is going to be destroyed. That’s the industry right now, with all these agents and producers and everybody in L.A. The hurricane is here, but they’re staying in the house because they don’t want to live in a future where that house doesn’t exist. 

It’s changed the way I view media. That’s why the greatest thing that ever happened to me was having all the networks say no, because adversity introduces you to yourself. I needed to be put in a situation where I could thrive, especially for the type of comedy I do. 

Do you think there’s an attack on free speech within comedy? 

This is the best time for comedy. This is where legends are made. Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin—these people were made in times where there was massive restriction and the world needed them. It needed their voice. It needed their rationale, their takes on the world. It needed speech with that amazingly beautiful cloak of comedy that can protect undeniable truths, if done really well.

Everybody, including Judd Apatow, was mad about Louis C.K.’s Parkland shooting joke. Isn’t it “ape shall never kill ape” in the comedy world?

You could say somebody’s not funny. You could say a joke isn’t funny. But you can never say what someone should or shouldn’t do with their humor. Comics are the harshest critics of each other. It seemed like a convenient time to dogpile. And you can’t do that, especially if you’re a comic. Because it’s not about Judd, or Louis. It’s about the no-name comic. What Judd was doing was enabling outrage. He’s enabling this “cancel culture.” And the reason he can’t do that is because…comedy has been very good to him, and has provided him with amazing things in his life. So you’ve got to nurture that and allow all the different types of art that could come out of that, plain and simple. 

We’re living in a time where dogpiling and outrage culture are so prevalent. Why do you think that is?

Everybody wants retweets. It’s selfish and self-indulgent. That’s all it is. It’s like if you’re not funny, you’ll just be an activist.

That seems like the new career move right now. These actresses who can’t get work anymore all become activists.

Absolutely. You know, it’s like one of those situations where you can’t get angry because this is what humans are, right? I’m not upset when humans dogpile. It’s in our nature to do whatever it takes to be accepted by our tribe, because being outside the tribe is dangerous and lonely and used to get you killed. There are very few of us that can see the right and the wrong in this tribal mentality. The idea that there are gray areas in everything is a hard thing for people. 

There’s a reason why, when a dictator takes over, the first people to get killed are comedians, and I’m using the word “comedian” loosely. Comedians are philosophers. And the reason we get killed is because we might say some shit that exposes the hypocrisy of the new administration. The powers that be recognize the power of a thinker, so thinkers got to go.