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Comedy is booming, but Silicon Valley can’t take a joke

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says the Valley needs a shot of self-awareness.

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Before he was a tech entrepreneur, Dick Costolo wanted to be on “Saturday Night Live.” Although that didn’t pan out, he continued to be an ardent comedy fan while founding companies like Feedburner and serving as Twitter’s CEO from 2010 to 2015.

And with comedy getting smarter and more diverse, it’s a good time to be a comedy fan, Costolo said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. However, despite the “explosion of comic talent” enabled by the internet, most of the tech industry itself is not in on the joke.

“There’s a surprising lack of self-awareness,” Costolo said. “I feel like, how does this person just not know this is something you would never do or say or think? Or at least, there used to be a little bit of, ‘I know this is outrageous, but ha ha ha, I’m in on the joke!’ ... Maybe it’s the money.”

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Costolo praised the fact that “nothing is off-limits” in comedy, and said he was confused by the complaints about political correctness coming from techies like Sam Altman and Tim Ferriss; the latter recently lamented on Reddit that many “topics or dissenting opinions are simply out of bounds in Silicon Valley,” calling it a form of McCarthyism.

“I haven’t been in any group of people where I thought I’m being made fun of or mocked for saying something,” Costolo said. “I just haven’t seen that.”

On the new podcast, Costolo also talked about who he thinks is funny in tech, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“I like that you're never quite sure if Marc thinks he’s in Hawaii,” he said.

Other people who make Costolo genuinely laugh include Slack VP April Underwood, Yahoo SVP Jeff Bonforte and the person who replaced him as CEO of Twitter: Founder Jack Dorsey.

“Jack has an amazing sense of humor,” he said. “As Jack would tell you, he’s also an introvert, so he's not going to walk into the room and [say], ‘Oh, this amazing, hilarious thing happened that I want to tell you all about!’ But he’s extremely funny.”

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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