Years before overseeing Joaquin Phoenix’s dark transformation into the Joker, director Todd Phillips made his living making blockbuster comedies like Old School, Road Trip, and the Hangover trilogy, for which he won a Golden Globe in 2009. While shifts in career trajectory are nothing new in the entertainment business (shout-out JAY-Z), Phillips claims “woke culture” made him want to leave behind the comedy world.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Phillips explained that he quit doing comedy projects because today’s society seemed to make being humorous nearly impossible. “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he said.
(Read: The Top 10 Films of 2019… So Far)
“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 shit, because I don’t want to offend you,” continued the filmmaker.
Phillips went on to say that rather than squabble with the masses over a problematic, un-PC joke, he decided to ditch comedy altogether and take his “irreverence” to the comic book universe,
“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.”
These new comments follow similarly controversial ones Phillips made regarding some of the backlash he’s received for Joker and its violence. “I think it’s because outrage is a commodity,” he remarked last month, and attributed said outrage to a political agenda launched by “the far left.”
“Woke culture” and “the far left” aren’t exactly the same, but it’s clear to see Phillips likes to place the blame on a certain type of demographic.
Joker opens in theaters Friday, October 4th. In our film review, Consequence of Sound contributor Sarah Kurchak said, “Joker thinks it’s saying something, but acts more like a class clown.”
Revisit a trailer below.