By Tony Sokol
Chairman Mao once said “Not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul” and Tony Hendra put his up for rent when he wrote Not The Bible with Sean Kelly, his longtime co-chief editor National Lampoon. Hendra was politically incorrect long before the term became a buzzword cutting through the liberal resistance movement.
Microagressions, some of the parts that make up the alt variety of progressive politics, sometimes put a chokehold on its progress as larger issues get bottlenecked by the minutiae of a thousand oppressions. Feminists get divided by sub-struggles like attitudes on the sex industry. Gender misidentification can derail a supporter before he knows what his support is called and nobody seems to be able to take a joke. Hendra, now runs The Final Edition Radio Hour, which pulls the trigger on a thousand offenses.
Hendra was hand-picked by co-founders Henry Beard and Doug Kenney in 1970 to be the first editor ever hired to bring order to the chaos of National Lampoon. He was with The National Lampoon Radio Hour when they put out their first album and he relaunched the offensive 35 years later with Are There Any Triggers Here Tonight? from The Final Edition Radio Hour, the audio division of The Final Edition.
Hendra poked at the scabs of society’s wounds without the passive microaggressions that usually pass for cultural irony with Den of Geek last September and fingered his favorite holsters.
“It seems to me that there is very little difference, actually, whether you call it political correctness, which I don’t, or if you call it simple prudery and evasiveness, which I do,” Hendra told Den of Geek. “I don’t think is very much difference between that and the kind of over-sensitivity that there was in the early seventies. We were hounded by everybody because we did the kind of comedy we did then about usually the same exact issues: gender, race and militarism, the same issues that are with us today.”
The messenger wants to add a little insult to injury but isn’t ready to spend the rest of his life ducking.
“What triggers me mostly is fear of real triggers,” Hendra told Den of Geek. “I don’t own a gun and I don’t like people who do. So I would have to say, if the kids on campus really looked around them and took a hard look at what I think of as the slow-motion Civil War that’s going on in this country, they shouldn’t really be worried about the bad feelings that some articles going to give them. They need to worry about the 300 million triggers with itchy fingers wanting to use them.”
Hendra says nothing should be out of range.
“I don’t think anything’s off limits. I like, as my old pal George Carlin used to say, to find the line and then step across it,” Hendra admitted. “You can’t go too far across it, as he pointed out, because then people just turn off and it’s not funny at that point. I don’t think there’s anything that is impossible to be funny about if you get the right angle on it.”
“We don’t intend to offend gratuitously but it’s intended to offend the right people. So when people get apoplectic about a piece, that’s all well and good,” he promised.
This has been a problem for a lot of comedians, many of whom have been avoiding the college circuit because of the aggressively passive microaggressions. More on that later.