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A SundanceTV Original Series
Inspired by New York Magazine‘s back page pop culture roundup, hosted by comedian Neal Brennan

“THE APPROVAL MATRIX” Recapped and Revealed (America’s Hall Monitors)

“I think we’ve learned one thing from this story: You’re not that famous,” Neal jokes with panelist Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), cutting him off in the middle of a long story about that one time when he was followed and wrongly profiled by Walmart security detail outside Chicago—they didn’t recognize him (though he’s semi-famous), accused him of being homeless (which is fair, he admits), and stopped him for questioning on his way out. Why? All homeless people are also thieves—that’s the stereotype at least.

On this episode of THE APPROVAL MATRIX, our panelists discuss stories of stereotyping and the many issues surrounding political correctness in America: from those that expose the lack of it (the P.C. Police) to those that betray it with racism, bigotry and overall prejudice. While we’re not exactly living in George Orwell’s 1984, we’re pretty close. As Neal points out in his opening monologue, “We don’t have Big Brother, we have millions of little brothers.”

Guided by Neal’s grudge against millennials and technological advancement in general, the conversation also covers how camera-phones and social media have made a whistle-blowing hall-monitor out of every Tom, Dick and Harry from Long Island to Laguna Beach. The gist: In 2014, not only is offending subsets of minority cultures made easier by an increasingly complex landscape of identity politics, but there are exponentially diverse means of recording and disseminating offending voices around the globe. No private thoughts are safe (look at Donald Sterling!).

This might not be such a bad thing.

The ever-reasonable Jon Stewart weighs in: “You are allowed to be racist in your house. You’re allowed to be racist on the street. You’re allowed to be racist anywhere you want… but… don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Nowadays, when getting caught is so much easier, everyone must be expected to be accountable for their words.

It’s worth noting that this week’s panel is definitely diverse: two black panelists, a trans woman, and a Jew. As a result, the show boasts one of our most personal and serious debates yet. It’s also genuinely funny. Which is part of the antidote to this cold, cruel world where, as Bailey Jay says: “Rage is viral.” Comedy, the panel agrees—even stereotyping in comedy—is important because it allows us to “laugh at how different all of us are.”

Get a tune-in reminder for THE APPROVAL MATRIX Mondays at 11/10c on SundanceTV.

Want more from THE APPROVAL MATRIX? Check out our interview with panelist Bailey Jay.