The film Joker has barely been out for ten seconds, but it’s already become a lightning rod for controversy. When the trailer first came out, it seemed like an incel manifesto put on the screen—a miserable man with untreated mental health issues is bullied by ruffians, so he decides to become a danger to society. Older versions of the Joker aren’t as focused on how he was “forced” to do a murder. He’s more of a big weirdo the Batman has to deal with. Here he’s the hero.
An unexpected angle of discussion has also popped up around Joker. It’s director, Todd Phillips, was the same guy who directed Old School and The Hangover series. Both were very popular in their time, but probably neither of them would fly now. There’s a lot of sexist, racist, transphobic, and horrible stuff in both of them, even if there are also some laughs! Sorry, it’s true.
Todd Phillips stated “go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture” when asked if he would develop more comedies. He adds that comedies don’t work anymore “because all the funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, I don’t want to offend you.’” (Source: https://t.co/biYHe3xKN8) pic.twitter.com/OHVnJELYn1— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) October 1, 2019
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he says. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the f*cking funny guys are like, ‘F*ck this sh*t, 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? 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*ck 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.”
The man likes to say “f*ck.” It’s very telling that he’s worried about all the “f*cking funny guys.” Maybe Philips hasn’t been to a comedy show in awhile. Things have changed in a few ways, my dude.
He is right about one thing—30 million people on Twitter are arguing with him, and they’re being pretty convincing:
Very sad to hear that comedy doesn't work anymore. My condolences to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Kumail Nanjiani, Tiffany Haddish, Jim Gaffigan, Tyler Perry, Melissa McCarthy, John Mulaney, Ali Wong, Nathan Fielder, Issa Rae, John Oliver, Awkwafina, Hannah Gadsby, Adam Sandler, Taika W https://t.co/nUNjOuGpbH— Melissa Hunter (@melissaFTW) October 1, 2019
to my dear, sweet Reply Guys:
-truly do not care if you think some of these people aren’t funny. they are examples of success in comedy in 2019.
-yes, there are 1000 more names i could have listed, that is the dang point.
— Melissa Hunter (@melissaFTW) October 2, 2019
Let us also not forget to mourn Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Patton Oswalt, Wanda Sykes, Leslie Jones, Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, D’Arcy Carden, Jordan Peele, Keegan Michael Key and Fred Armisen— Lauryn Cryptsum 🦇⚰️ (@LaurynIpsum) October 2, 2019
Lol he funny. https://t.co/bvTVCutqEJ— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) October 2, 2019
I remain amazed by the number of people in comedy who seem to believe that they can't be funny if they're not doing something that insults people from a marginalized group. The audience is telling you: Be better. Admitting that you can't is your problem, not ours. https://t.co/FxgZnw7Y2Q— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) October 1, 2019
If I'm making a possibly offensive joke, I give more thought to it. Most comics aren't saying "fuck this," we're making more thoughtful comedy. It can be frustrating (and scary!) but you have to be willing to grow with audiences & either own your shit or apologize when it misses. https://t.co/92cAOVHuEY— Samantha Ruddy (@samlymatters) October 1, 2019
It's always sunny in Philadelphia made a joke about a little kid dying of leukaemia while "la bamba" was playing in the background. This joke was made last week, the premiere of the 14th season, in 2019. You can joke about anything you just need to be smart about it. https://t.co/axf3j4Tkt5— paul rudd's whore (@Daniela_chuck) October 2, 2019
help I haven't laughed in years, won't somebody be racist in an ironic way so I can finally experience comedy again https://t.co/kmGhETisyQ— Joseph Fink, Halloween Man (@PlanetofFinks) October 1, 2019
Bill fucking Hader did not train as an assassin then join a drama class for Todd bloody Phillips to say comedy is dying. Also, Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not write and star as a emotional woman having an existential crisis for him to say this. The disrespect. https://t.co/SWcfQc6zFK— Kat 🕸Hocus Pocus🕸 (@kat_s_galaxy) October 1, 2019
Bullshit. Deadpool did it, TWICE. What We Do in the Shadows did it. So did The Heat, Spy, Bad Moms, Sorry to Bother You, Game Night, The Little Hours, Neighbors, The Nice Guys and many more. This outrage about some perceived PC obsession is getting old and is a LAME excuse. https://t.co/ctSPiX1v5H— 🎃 Mr. Josh 🎃 (@MrJosh79) October 2, 2019
Says the dude that made the same movie three times and called it a trilogy. https://t.co/KxAll6lqsH— Jodi Smith (@Jodi_L_Smith) October 2, 2019
Some think it’s much clearer now that Joker is actually about Todd Philips:
I cannot stress this enough...it's a movie about a failed comedian whose psychological tipping point is the realization that everyone thinks he sucks because he does. https://t.co/yCtcpzfP4o— Zeddy (@Zeddary) October 1, 2019
I guess we should all thank Todd Phillips for the daily confirmation that 1) Criticisms of the shitty reactionary messages embedded in his Joker movie are correct and 2) That those shitty reactionary messages weren’t an accident. He clearly sees himself in The Joker. https://t.co/FdANNlAWTu— Jonathan McIntosh (@radicalbytes) October 1, 2019
There are enough people out there who want more grim retellings from the DC Universe to make Joker a smash hit, so Philips is doing fine. So is comedy.