Joker director Todd Phillips took aim at “woke” Hollywood in a new interview promoting his upcoming film starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Phillips spoke with Vanity Fair about this new “woke” Hollywood culture that lead to him creating and working on the Joker film. He specifically notes Hollywood new “woke” culture lead to the dismissal of his irreverent comedies like Old School and The Hangover.
Phillips told them:
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture. There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the f****** funny guys are like, ‘F*** this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’ It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what?”
In fact, Vulture wrote an article about that subject which argued, “A lot of comedy over the last few years isn’t funny, and there are no signs that things are getting any funnier.” They also argued, “Comedians and comedy writers are increasingly pushing the bounds of what it means for something to be a comedy in the most basic sense, rewiring the relationship between comedies and jokes. So what is comedy without jokes? It’s Post-Comedy.”
However, as Phillips notes these are the words of the “woke” in the media and on Twitter. Netflix shelled out nearly $100 million to have the streaming rights for Friends. According to The Hollywood Reporter, WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service HBO Max outbid Netflix to the tune of $85 million per year for five years totaling $425 million. That doesn’t look like comedy is dead.
With this new “woke” Hollywood culture driving comedians away for fear of offending, they are searching for new avenues. For Phillips that was Joker. He detailed how this fear of offending the woke led to the Joker.
“With all my comedies—I think that what comedies in general all have in common—is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but f*** comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
Phillips comments are not anything new. The fear of the “woke” in Hollywood is legitimate. It’s caused some of the biggest comedians to lose their dream jobs. Kevin Hart was forced to step down from hosting the Oscars after a “reporter” from The Guardian named Benjamin Lee took offense to a number of his jokes from over a decade ago.
Comedian Sarah Silverman even commented about the sad state of bowing to “woke” and “outrage” culture in Hollywood while on the red carpet at the Emmys.
Silverman stated, “They cut us off at the knees. There isn’t even a host anymore in these shows. They don’t want comedians to talk.” When asked if she offered to host, Silverman responded, “No, nobody wants to do it either. It’s thankless.”
Jerry Seinfeld has also commented on this “woke” culture saying, “There’s a creepy PC thing out there that really bothers me.”
When you combine this with Todd Phillips’ own experience with woke culture when it comes to his yet to be released film, it’s understandable why the director has shied away from returning to comedy.
Joker will finally make its way to theaters on October 4th.