Hollywood legend, and comedic icon Mel Brooks said in a recent interview that today’s obsession with political correctness is killing comedy.
During his interview with BBC Radio 4, Brooks stated that many of his own films couldn’t have been made in America’s now “stupidly politically correct” climate.
“Maybe a few,” he said when asked whether or not his movies could be made today. “But never ‘Blazing Saddles,’ because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy.”
Today’s younger generations may recognize the name Mel Brooks from the credits at the end of The Simpsons, but not too long ago he was known for pushing the boundaries of comedy with films like ‘Young Frankenstein’, and ‘The Producers’.
‘Blazing Saddles’ was particularly shocking for its time. The western spoof, starring Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little, was about a black sheriff in a racist town. Brooks says that the use of racial slurs in the film is the primary reason many social justice warriors would object to the movie being made today.
“It’s okay not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups,” Brooks went on to say. “However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering into the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”
Brooks admits that, being a jewish man, he “personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” but that “everything else is okay.”
Of course, there will always be new brands of comedy emerging, however, Brooks does bring up a valid point. Are we so concerned with being PC that we completely miss the joke?
Today’s audiences would rather spend time being offended than sitting back and enjoying something funny. Sure, comedy has its limits. Kathy Griffin walking around with a severed head of the president is one of those lines you don’t cross (and she’s learning that the hard way). Hey, at least she’s taking risks. You can’t say that about most comics these days.
Fortunately we have people like Mel Brooks who have shown future generations what it means to be daring with one’s comedy.