In this installment of the Illipsis, Jay Smooth looks at the very human tendency to respond to criticism defensively — most recently demonstrated by Amy Schumer in her response to a critique in The Guardian — and considers why standup comedians seem to find it so difficult to deal with pushback. “Most standup comics came up in the world where you had to be tough, when you were up on stage you had to deal with negative attention in a tough way, you couldn’t show vulnerability to a heckler,” he says. “But it’s not compatible with the internet; you need different survival tactics for this terrain.”

“You can’t keep saying ‘I’m in your corner, so I don’t deserve scrutiny’ because that’s not how being in someone’s corner works.”


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