'If you can't make jokes without hurting people, maybe you're no good at it' | Marc Maron reacts to claims 'woke culture' is killing comedy

'If you can't make jokes without hurting people, maybe you're no good at it'

Marc Maron reacts to claims 'woke culture' is killing comedy

Marc Maron has hit back at Joker director Todd Phillips’s claim that ‘woke culture’ is stifling comedy.

In a recent Vanity Fair article, the filmmaker said that the willingness of people to take offence, especially on social media, was damaging the comedy business.

‘There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore,’ director said. I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, "Fuck 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"’.

But speaking on his WTF podcast, comic Maron – who plays a TV producer on Joker – called Phillips’s stance ‘tired’ and said there was more scope for jokes than ever before, even if a certain style of offensive comedy had fallen out of favour.

Maron said: ‘There’s plenty of people being funny right now. Not only being funny but being really fucking funny. There are still lines to be rode. If you like to ride a line, you can still ride a line. If you want to take chances, you can still take chances. 

‘Really, the only thing that’s off the table, culturally, at this juncture –and not even entirely – is shamelessly punching down for the sheer joy of hurting people. For the sheer excitement and laughter that some people get from causing people pain, from making people uncomfortable, from making people feel excluded. You know, that excitement.’

‘If you’re too intimidated to try to do comedy that is deep or provocative, or even a little controversial, without hurting people, then you’re not good at what you do. Or maybe you’re just insensitive.

‘Bottom line is no one is saying you can’t say things or do things. It’s just that it’s going to be received a certain way by certain people and you’re gonna have to shoulder that.’

And he said that there was still an audience for the sort of humour that Hangover director Phillips was talking about, even if it was falling out of the mainstream.

‘If you’re isolated or marginalised or pushed into a corner because of your point of view or what you have to say, yet you still have a crew of people that enjoy it, there you go! Those are your people. Enjoy your people,’ Maron.

Published: 9 Oct 2019

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