Mel Brooks: We’ve ‘become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy’

The 2017 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs)

A few years ago, a few high-profile comedians made a big deal about how “political correctness” was getting out of hand and, like, ruining comedy. Jerry Seinfeld was one of those guys, and he tried to make the argument that if he wanted to make a joke where he made fun of how gay dudes are totally effeminate, then the PC police would be out to get him. I tend to believe that if you’re a comedian in 2017 and you’re making jokes about gay dudes being effeminate, you’re the one with the problem, not “politically correct culture.” It’s one thing to say that Jerry Seinfeld is an out-of-touch hack, but it’s completely different to try to parse what Mel Brooks said in a new interview. Mel Brooks is a living legend, a titan of comedy, a brilliant comedic mind through and through. And he thinks people are getting too “PC” as well.

Blazing Saddles is widely considered one of the greatest comedies in history. But, director Mel Brooks believes the satirical Western wouldn’t stand a chance today, blaming the current “stupidly politically correct” environment. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker recently appeared on BBC Radio 4, where he was asked if he thinks he could get films like The Producers, Young Frankenstein, or Blazing Saddles made in the present climate.

“Maybe, but never Blazing Saddles,” he responded. “Because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy. It’s okay not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups. However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”

Getting a kick out of being deemed the “Patron Saint of Going Too Far,” Brooks acknowledged that he would only draw the line at “gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis.”

[From EW]

You know why Mel Brooks wouldn’t make a joke about the people who died in the Holocaust? Because it would be punching down and it would be unfunny. That should be the conversation about comedy in the current era – who is being made fun of? Are your jokes making fun of a marginalized community, or are you making fun of the people who perpetuate that marginalization? Are you making fun of the lecherous king, or are you making fun of the people whose lives are destroyed by the lecherous king’s actions? I’m not saying Mel is all wrong or all right, I’m just saying it’s a more nuanced conversation than “stop being politically correct, let’s make fun of marginalized people together!”

2017 BAFTA Awards After Party - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

87 Responses to “Mel Brooks: We’ve ‘become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Nicole says:

    It’s not being politically correct to hope that people stop being complete @$$holes to those of us that are in minority groups. I mean really what is so hard to get?

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      It really shouldn’t be this hard, I agree with you.
      I don’t have an answer. I don’t understand why there is a segment of the population that think everyone having the same rights somehow means their rights are diminished.
      That sharing is a bad thing. That making sure we all have access to the basics somehow means there won’t be enough for them.
      It’s like they panic, that there is not enough to go around and they will be cut short. Little to they know that when we all work together, there is an abundance.

    • Cintra.C says:

      I agree. Some comedians need to realize that, currently, it is no longer funny for people to punch down.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Seems to be a lot they don’t get. Some things just aren’t funny to minorities.

    • downTime says:

      How -not funny- is it to have an octogenarian claim to “speak Jive” because supposedly Black people are indecipherable, and the elderly are all useless and out of touch? I look at Mel Brook’s movies of yesteryear and cringe. My son was born in the Obama era of inclusivity, and if he sees movies from the 80s, I have to explain as if this is a museum of the cruel and bullying.

    • Addison says:

      I for one listen to the Jimmys, Colbert, Noah, and Seth and they make me laugh a lot. So I don’t know what he means by that. I for one see the difference between political correctness and racist/mysogenist comments. That is not hard Mel.
      There is a difference between calling women broads or chicks than calling them hoes, sluts and bitches.

  2. Lucy says:

    I have a series of issues with the term “political correctness” because of everything you said in the article. Those who complain about PC rarely seem to be affected in any way by social adversity.

    • Rachel says:

      ^^^ Ding ding ding!

    • godwina says:

      Exactly. Notice how Brooks “draws the line” at making fun of victims within his own marginalization (Jews who died in the Holocaust). Of course he did. But sure, everyone else is fair game. SMH

      Anyway, Seinfeld at his height >>>>>>>>> Brooks at his height.

      • WendyNerd says:

        Okay, here is where I draw the line. Please do not suggest that a) Brooks hasn’t known social adversity and b) only cares about his group because it’s as wrong as what he says here.

        He grew up in the US in the 30’s, when McCarthy was targetting Jews and Average Americans were more opposed to welcoming Jewish and Romani refugees than they are today of welcoming Syrian ones.. Jews were blamed for the Depression. They were the KKK’s second favorite targets. When Asylum laws to welcome refugees from Hitler’s regime were put up, there were mass marches to “Send the Jews back to where they came from in their leaky boats!” Sound familiar?

        It’s part of the reason America waited so long to enter WWII, because Roosevelt was afraid of lending credence to claims that his administration was “controlled by the Jews”. Literally, millions of our people might have survived if not for the social environment Brooks grew up in. Jews in America were targetted for harassment, violence, and persecution in the US. Major media personalities were praising Hitler, for, among other things, “No longer letting the Jews steal money and control everything.”

        He goes by “Brooks” instead of “Kaminsky” for a reason. He served in WWII and evacuated Death Camps.

        And there’s another reason he mentions taking the Holocaust lightly besides being a Jew himself. In the 90’s a whimsical, goofy film about a Jewish family living in a concentration camp in which the father (played by a Goyim) helps his family “get over” their life there with humor and fantastical stories! Woo! It was given the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. So, yes, he’s citing precedent he has an issue with.

        As to other groups… Brooks himself has talked about the limits on comedy:

        ” In 1974, I produced the western parody “Blazing Saddles,” in which the word ‘n—–‘ was used constantly. But I would never have thought of the idea of showing how a black was lynched. It’s only funny when he escapes getting sent to the gallows.”

        Blazing Saddles was a concept that was originally about using 1970’s “hip” slang in the 1870’s, and Brooks took it, worked on it with Richard Pryor, and made a film all about racism, particularly against Black Americans. And he has always been outspoken about there being lines he would not cross in terms of the treatment of African Americans. (And it’s downright shocking how well-aimed and still relevant the portrayals of racism are today. I was watching the scene where Bart enters Rock Ridge last night and all I could think about was how well it fits the narratives of white privilege and stereotypes about Black Folk. White people are all ready to try and come up with excuses for why it was okay for Black Person X to be shot, framing things as if there’s a “right” sort of victim. They were all ready to shoot Bart until he started playing to black stereotypes as both the “thug” and the “Halp may! Halp may!” stereotype. As soon as it was a “thug” threatening the stereotypical “Uncle Tom” stereotype, it went from cocked pistols to “Won’t someone help that poor man?!” They were so blinded by their stereotypes that they didn’t even notice that the “thug” and the “Halp may!” victim were the same person.

        Brooks also produced “The Elephant Man”, and I don’t think I need to explain the importance of that story and how it relates to disabled people. He decided not to direct it because he feared his comedic style would come through and even if it did not, people would approach it as a comedy due to the impression his name draws, he even refused to be credited as executive producer when it came out (despite being the main financier of it) because he was adamant that John Merrick’s story be seen as drama and not possibly be affected by a comedic lens. Because. There. Are. Limits. Brooks has known this forever, and has applied this to Holocaust victims, African Americans, and disabled folks. Not just “his own” group.

        Now, Brooks has seriously lost the thread, clearly, because it seems his memory is shot. He’s universally celebrated and beloved NOW for his off-color works like Blazing Saddles and The Producers. But when the OG producers movie came out, there was huge controversy. The movie got mixed reviews, so did Saddles. When Brooks pitched both films, he faced opposition from studios, and he faced controversy upon their release. Studios wanted him to change “Springtime for Hitler” into “Springtime for Mussolini” because it was less controversial. And once it was released…

        “The Jews were horrified. I received resentful letters of protest, saying things like: ‘How can you make jokes about Hitler? The man murdered 6 million Jews.’ But ‘The Producers’ doesn’t concern a concentration camp or the Holocaust. ” He got TONS of critical crap at the time as well.

        As for Blazing Saddles, there were tons of blocks to its production. Brooks wanted Richard Pryor as Bart, but he was uninsurable at that point in part because of his mental health and drug issues, but also because of his reputation and controversy. Brooks also wanted John Wayne in Gene Wilder’s part, but Wayne refused because he felt the film was too controversial for him. The Legendary Frankie Lane, who sang the theme, was powerfully moved by the song when he recorded it, and when he actually saw the film, he was horrified by the off-color humor. The studio demanded a bunch of cuts, of which he only gave into one. Blazing Saddles got mixed reviews, while our modern “Too PC” culture loves that movie and The Producers on a near-universal level.

        So yeah, Brooks seems to have lost his memory, or he might recall how his seminal films were treated in their time. Versus how they are viewed now. Sure, shitty edgelord “humor” is criticized, and there’s discourse abot everything, but Brooks never trafficked in that. He got criticized for it during his “less PC” time, but today people laud him. So what the Hell is he talking about?

        Yes, Blazing Saddles would certainly be made differently — no Mel Brooks in red-face, and no “French Mistake” (which is a center point of the ending, which Brooks himself admits is the movie’s weakest point anyways), but try to tell me that studios wouldn’t be salivating to get, say, Jordan Peele to do a Blazing Saddles remake. Hell, the one cut he DID agree to (when Lili and Bart get together the first time and Lili talks about his girth, Bart replies “You’re sucking on my arm”) probably would be included today.

        So yeah, Brooks should know better. He’s totally wrong. But suggesting that he doesn’t know social adversity or that he only cares about “his” group is Flat out, 100% wrong, and kind of offensive.

        Also, godwina, are you forgetting Seinfeld’s rant on PC culture two years ago? It’s worse than what Brooks says here, at least Brooks notes there should be limits, even if he is citing Holocaust victims as the example.

      • senna says:

        @WendyNerd, thanks so much for that incredible essay. I learned so much about Mel Brooks through it. It seems his views on race are nuanced and complicated, and his own quote doesn’t demonstrate that in the least.

      • FLORC says:

        This all day long wendynerd!!!

        To add… Anthony jeselnik has touched on this…
        “I get really mad when people get sensitive about comedy. If you’re sensitive about comedy it’s the dumbest thing you can do. I call them the Joke Police. They always have one rule. One rule they have! You can’t make fun of this right now. After a couple of years, they move on to something else. Which is why it’s so hypocritical. Like the thing today? The thing right now you can’t make fun of? Thing it’s too sensitive of at this moment? Transgendered people.”
        He goes on for the punch line which is funny. Just maybe words I can’t post here.

        And for what it’s worth comedy has been major in being a bridge ober these hard to tslk about issues. A way to discuss them without people losing their minds in rage. It just has to be done well. And not many can.

      • LV487 says:

        McCarthyism in the 30’s? Roosevelt not wishing to enter too early into WWII? Hitler declared war on the United States, not the other way around. McCarthy wasn’t a senator until 1947 so I doubt Mel Brooks suffered much as a child under McCarthyism. Mel Brooks was a combat engineer, he liberated no death camps. This is an article about Mel Brooks and you decided to give everyone a history lesson, in that case, facts would’ve been fun.

      • magnoliarose says:


        She most likely meant communism and how it ran into McCarthyism as part of the same thread.
        She isn’t talking about the declaration of war but when we entered the war. She is correct on that point.
        He was the victim of antisemitism while serving and did see refugees from camps. But the US liberated the camps, and he was part of that army so that could be a broad meaning.

        @ Wendy
        Great post. I consider his age when he says PC I think he means hypersensitivity and punching down. The definition gets muddied.
        See the link above Dave Foley explains it perfectly.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Where did he say everyone else was fair game to punch down upon? Imagine a Jewish person saying victims of the Holocaust weren’t funny. Oh, the crime of it.

        Lynching isn’t funny. Gay bashing isn’t funny. Should he have made you a list? My friend does make slavery jokes but punching up not down, and she is black.

  3. Kata says:

    I agree that that is the problem – comedians are now too often punching down, and that isn’t funny. But can someone like Jerry Seinfeld punch up? He is a rich white American guy. He is the “up”. Unless he starts doing political comedy or pokes fun at himslef.

    And I think you can joke about everything, but not everyone can joke about everything. There are certain topics where you have to have a personal connection to be able to make a joke about it.

    • Algernon says:

      His new special on Netflix is good, but it’s also more like a retrospective, going through his original bits, telling the story of how he broke into comedy in the 70s. It’s like he realized he’s out of step with audiences, so he’s doing greatest hits tours now. There is some new material, but it’s all building off old stuff.

  4. Sara says:

    Can we make a difference between punching down and some actual overpolicing of humor? Blazing saddles is an antiracist movie which IMHO has aged pretty well humorwise but NO WAY could it be made today without huge controversy and opinion pieces condemning it. Surely we can have more nuance in this discussion.

  5. Kate says:

    So no jokes about Hitler’s victims, but jokes about Pol Pot’s victims would be fine?

    Violent anti-semitism hits Brooks where it hurts, so it’s off limits. Totally understandable. But he can’t see beyond himself to the fact that other people have their own traumas, their own boundaries, their own trigger points, and that they might not like to see those joked about, the same way he doesn’t want to hear Holocaust jokes.

    I wish more comedians could be like Paul F Tompkins. He’s said a ton of great stuff about how ‘PC’ culture is good for comedy, how it keeps it fresh. That’s the real issue for most aging comedians, they’re just pissed they can’t fall back on lame old routines.

    • PlaidSheets says:

      Very well said.

    • cate says:

      nailed it!

    • Reef says:


    • Megan says:

      I guess Mel forgot about “Springtime for Hitler” in The Producers and “The Inquisition” in History of the World.

    • godwina says:

      Ah, you got there before me and were more eloquent to boot (I posted too soon). 100% agree.

    • detritus says:

      Yeah that was my immediate thought too.
      His two points that he would avoid speak to him personally too, he doesn’t understand how other issues would speak personally to other people.

    • WendyNerd says:

      Incorrect. See my above comment.

      • Kitten says:

        I read your comment and respectfully, I don’t see how anything you said directly contradicts Kate’s post.

        Joking about a black slave worker is ok for him, but Holocaust humor is off-limits.

        That certainly doesn’t mean that Brooks lacks empathy for the suffering of people of color, but it doesn’t mean he is automatically sensitive either. What he sees as a satirical and humorous portrayal of atrocities leveled against black people could still be extremely hurtful and triggering to individual people of color.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Once again making fun of Nazis is funny making fun of victims is not. There is a difference. But this thread proves the point that satire and realizing the joke is on the racist seems to be lost.
      It is making fun of the stereotype by making fun of the people who engage in stereotyping. It is making fun of America and how ridiculous and absurd and WRONG slavery was. To see it like that is making fun of white people.


  6. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    I tend to agree with him re: comedy. I’m part of MANY different groups that are regularly the subject of jokes (just one example, I’m Jewish). I have laughed at different “Jew jokes,” depending on the context and delivery. I’m sure I’ll get hate for this but I wish people appreciated nuance, tone, exaggeration to prove a point, and the fact that we should give artists a bit of space to create and make mistakes because that is the human experience.

  7. Sixer says:

    There will always be a fine line because intent is attributed by the consumer of edgy comedy to the maker of it, not always correctly but with sincerity.

    Blazing Saddles has a funny rape joke. Makes me laugh every time. There, I said it. I personally think it’s acceptable because it’s skewering men and their patriarchal attitudes to what does and does not constitute rape. I get it that many people don’t, though.

    The famous British example is Chris Morris’s Brass Eye called Paedogeddon, in which he satirises moral panics VERY uncomfortably by choosing paedophilia as the vehicle.

    • Skylark says:

      That still makes me howl but also remains one of the cleverest and most biting examples of someone holding abject sheep-like stupidity and hypocrisy up to the light.

      As long as comedy is coming from an informed and intelligent place, it usually works for me, no matter how dark, contentious or controversial its subject matter.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      We watched British TV and movies much more than US or Canada.
      We just find it more nuanced, not always going for the obvious joke or humour, dry and more situational humour opposed to making someone the brunt of the joke.

      The show IT Crowd, we love it. Some could argue it plays into stereotypes, it has some dark subjects ( peter file), but it’s the way the actors, the writers treat the material?

      I don’t know if I can explain it. But over there, is some really fantastic TV and movies.

      • Sixer says:

        I think there will always be grey areas over what is and isn’t acceptable, you know? But I like difficult humour because it makes me think harder than I would otherwise. If that makes sense.

      • third ginger says:

        It makes perfect sense. One Ricky Gervais performance from years ago had me choking with laughter. It focused on a safe sex pamphlet from a healthcare group. Not a funny subject in and of itself. However, when Gervavis went through the options for safe sex [one of which was masturbating out an open window] I was dying.

        I hate the term PC. Sometimes we are speaking of an extreme, unhealthy sensitivity. Other times we are speaking of the elimination of sexist, racist, homophobic slurs in everyday language. Maybe we need some new terms.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I know what you mean. Good British humor kills me every single time. I just think there are ways to be on the edge that is brilliant without being disgusting.

      • Sixer says:

        “I hate the term PC. Sometimes we are speaking of an extreme, unhealthy sensitivity. Other times we are speaking of the elimination of sexist, racist, homophobic slurs in everyday language.”

        THIS. PC is an umbrella term for a variety of phenomena – I don’t like the censorious, authoritarian attitudes on one hand, but obviously I’m not down for racism or sexism or homophobia with intent on the other.

  8. lala says:

    There are ways for comedians to be subversive and edgy without being insensitive assholes, but for some reason so many comedians just reach for low hanging fruit.

  9. JC says:

    This debate has to do with perceptions of who has power, who has voice. There’s a great divide in the perception of this—and it’s a very nuanced and tricky question.

  10. HK9 says:

    It seems to me that sometimes this ‘we can’t make good jokes because everyone is PC’ is not only getting ridiculous but those who argue this are also too lazy to talk about context and who is making the joke.

    For example, there was a friend of mine who is Jewish, and she went to see a Jewish play-I asked her how it was and she said ‘it was good but it was too Jewish-but only I can say that!’ and we laughed because as a black woman we both knew exactly what that meant.

    I find this criticism usually comes from white males who miss getting to be a jerk without censure. Mel Brooks is funny, and I may be wrong but somehow I don’t think he’d have this problem.

  11. Wilma says:

    comedians that have a hard time not making fun of marginalized people should work harder at their craft. There’s so much funny stuff being produced right now that doesn’t rely on punching down. I love Brooklyn 99 for instance and I think most late night shows are doing a great job without resorting to being misogynist, racist or homophobic.

    • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

      I agree with you. The only thing that I want to add is that I personally don’t have an issue when someone from a marginalized group makes fun of someone in the same group. with a few exceptions. Chris Rock comes to mind especially his joke about the difference between black people and n-ggas. You can technically look at the joke as if it is making fun of ignorant black people and possibly playing respectability politics, but it works because of how he told that joke and mostly who he told that joke in front of. That joke was told in front of a majority black audience who he culturally identified with. The joke worked for me because he made it familiar to my experience as a black american.

      If it was told in front of any other group and they laughed as hard as those black people did. I would honestly have a problem with it.

      • Wilma says:

        Yes, I think the context of the comedian determines a lot in that regard. I spent a couple of years in a wheelchair in a rehabilitation centre (not sure if that is the English word for it) and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard and at handicap jokes, but those would have been brutally mean if someone without a handicap would have told them.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        Yes, you correct. Rehab, Rehabilitation center (you spell centre the fancy way).

        I don’t know if you follow Nyle DiMarco on twitter but I started to recently and he is hilarious. He is a deaf person who constantly makes references to his deafness in a funny or in a more educational way to educate people who can hear about his world.

  12. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    I disagree with him about the films. Blazing Saddles could get made today with a few changes. Him appearing as an Indian in red paint would not fly (for good reason. there are enough native american actors who could say those lines), but most of the writing was solid and was not punching down but up. Gene, Richard, and Mel and the other writers were making fun of the racist towns people and not the other way around. Young Frankenstein would have worked as well. Never sawThe Producers.

    I am also not sure what people don’t understand about free speech. You can say it; we can respond. If you don’t like the response, tell a different joke. I don’t have to accept you disrespecting me or someone else just because you lack imagination and cleverness. There are going to be consequences for what you say; words have meanings for a reason. If you cannot handle the consequences, get a different job.

    Curb Your Enthusiasm has been on for about a decade now, I think. That show is as anti-PC as can be, but I think one of the reasons it has been on so long it because Larry is constantly being called out for being an asshole. He is not made into a misunderstood hero, nor is he a complete villain as you can occasionally see and agree with his point of view. Don’t try to make me sympathize with a jerk. Don’t try to normalize or excuse it. Curb Your Enthusiam and Seinfeld are shows full of jerks but it worked because they acknowledged it and guided the audience through their nonsense.

    • Sara says:

      In the scene where he appears in redface he speaks Yiddish as one of the jokes. The whole point is that he isn’t NA.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        I understood why he did it. I don’t care for the excuse.

        The joke would have been just as complicated and uncomfortably funny if they had used a Native American actor instead of him dressing up in that costume. Whites and Native Americans have a long and dirty history with each other as well. Brooks and the other writers spent a good chunk of the film satirizing white on black racism but doesn’t really mention the history between whites and Native Americans beyond that scene.

      • Megan says:

        The Yiddish joke would have been funnier if there was a NA actor in the role because it would have been totally unexpected.

      • magnoliarose says:

        The joke was that every single American claim to be part Native American and a person speaking Yiddish obviously not. Pushed too far for now and would need retooling most likely.

      • Nick says:

        “but doesn’t really mention the history between whites and Native Americans beyond that scene.”. Probably because it was the only scene involving Native Americans? Or the fact that the movie wasn’t about that particular racial relationship?

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        @Nick Not buying it. Every bit of that film is crammed full of cultural references. This was not a throwaway bit as nothing in this film can be seen that way. Every joke, every shot, every song, was deliberately placed in this film. So for him to acknowledge red face beng a common event in western films but say nothing about it other than that it happened is a missed opportunity. There are so many different jokes that they fit into the film that worked better than this one.

        He is making fun of how white people in Hollywood treated Native Americans, but at the same time doing what he is making fun of. It would make sense if he was making the audience aware of how messed up red face was but he didn’t do that.

  13. cyn says:

    He’s not wrong.

  14. DEEBO says:

    He isn’t necessarily wrong, but I find it quite hypocritical how many Jewish people seem to be totally find talking shit/making jokes about other races or people’s sexuality, but when you joke about their own, they get super offended.

    Mel has made some of the BEST comedies of all time. They wouldn’t fly today. People are overly PC, but it isn’t always a bad thing. I find conservatives bitching about the flag to be pretty PC. Too PC.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Please don’t generalize about Jewish people. What he is talking about are jokes about the Holocaust that are cruel and making fun of the victims, not the Nazis. Unless you have been the butt of one of them you probably don’t get it.
      “They” “Those people”
      Don’t speak for us. We can do it ourselves. You probably don’t even know some of the people you talk to are even Jewish.

    • Monica says:

      I doubt you know any Jewish people–and yeah I bet lots of people get mad when you talk shit about their race. What’s new.

    • Kitten says:

      Ummmm… I have never met a Jewish person who is ok with making jokes about any member of a marginalized community. On the contrary, my experience has been that Jewish people as a whole are far more likely than most white folks to naturally ally and support those who experience the most suffering in our society.

  15. Margo S. says:

    So typical of a 100 year old white dude to be pissed at PC culture. Move along.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Margo, as if we haven’t learned from the Trump presidency that Jews don’t have all that white privilege you are imagining. But you studied the Israeli/Palestine conflict extensively so you know everything there is to know about Jews, amirite?

  16. Moon Beam says:

    The problem is there are people who are just too stupid to get satire. They don’t understand the joke is on them. These movies and skits aren’t saying racism and racist stereotypes are funny and true, they are skewering racists. I know Dave Chapelle was frustrated that people didn’t get that out of his show. I also remember there being a lot of discussion after the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes with black face. A lot of us discussing it found that there were many fans who thought it was hilarious and haha black face is funny. They don’t seem to understand that the show is constantly trying to get across that the gang is a bunch of idiots who think doing black face for their Lethal Weapon reboot is totally fine. They aren’t making fun of sexual assault, they are pointing out how pathetic Dennis is etc.
    Satire done well goes beyond political correctness and points a mirror inward to society. Blazing Saddles was good satire. The problem is that there are comedians who just aren’t good at it. Seinfeld is stuck in his 90s hey day I think. I understand Mel’s point but there’s not going to be anything 100% of people aren’t offended by. That’s life. If you do satire well or your jokes are well done, there will be people who appreciate them.

  17. willow84 says:

    jerry seinfeld and chris rock have both said this. they’re not wrong.

  18. Suzy says:

    Comedy seems to be doing just fine making fun of the idiots out there who deserve to be made fun of. Glad the mean spirited comedy of the past has become unacceptable

  19. AV says:

    His funniest movies, and the funniest jokes in those movies, were ambiguous gags that had nothing to do with any particular person. Stuff like the the dramatic orchestra scene in High Anxiety. Or the farting scene in Blazing Saddles. My dad is a massive fan of Mel Brooks, but I found most of his humor to be on par with literally any “average” 7th grader (boy or girl). Having said that, I definitely laugh hardest at some of Louis CK’s more outrageous stuff, so I see the point he’s trying to make, but ultimately I’m *laughing in outrage* that someone would say something that audacious – because laughter is one way humans respond to strong, negative stimuli. In the 70s, when a lot of Mel Brooks’ best work came out, that was the case also. Laughing at the phrase “Watch me f*ggots* was the response to the unbelievable audacity he had to portray an openly gay man using a slur against other gay men. But that “joke” loses its value with time. So in conclusion of this long, confusing ramble, I completely disagree with him. PC may be the death of HIS comedy, but it sure as hell isn’t the death of good jokes.

  20. Zondie says:

    Some humor resonates with audiences because they can relate to it as a human, regardless of their background. I think of an early Seinfeld bit, where he joked about horses being transported in a trailer on the highway. The horses are worrying if their butts are hanging out the trailer for the rest of the drivers on the road to see. Of course they are, that’s how horse trailers work. And it’s funny because people can relate to being in an awkward situation that you can’t control, for example standing on a bus with your butt in front of someone who is seated.

  21. gwen says:

    He is 100% right.

  22. Radley says:

    Comedy is hard and many comedians aren’t really great at it. You need to be smart and sensitive. Smart enough to find the humor and sensitive enough to know how to stay in your lane. For example, some black comedians are great at roasting black people and the unique quirks of the culture. And it’s funny. But Chip from Iowa shouldn’t tell those jokes. That’s not his lane. Now if Chip wants to joke about suburban wine mom culture, go for it. Comedians just need to be cognizant of what’s in their wheelhouse or not.

    • lala says:

      totally. I watched a Netflix comedy special (cant remember the comedian’s name) with a friend and the comedian spend about 10 minutes making really awful “jokes” about obese people. My beautiful friend sitting on the couch next to me has been battling obesity her whole life, she was so uncomfortable I turned it off. i wanted to throttled this asinine comedian and Netflix for ok-ing that pure garbage. It wasn’t funny at all, just entirely mean spirited.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I don’t find most fat jokes funny unless it is the person making fun of themselves or Chris Christy because he is assbutt.
        Overweight people suffer plenty and they know they have a weight issue and it isn’t funny.

  23. lucy2 says:

    As soon as I started reading, “punching down” was the first thought that came to mind. I don’t think certain topics should be off limits, but I think as a comedian, you have to be smart enough to know whether or not you’re punching down, and what exactly the target of the joke is. If you can’t do that and just want to whine about PC culture, that’s on you. But there are plenty of comedians out there who are doing it just fine.

  24. Monica says:

    If you have to be offensive to another person’s race or religion you’re simply not as clever as you think you are. But outrage culture is annoying–things like La La Land getting backlash–what in the world???

  25. Mara says:

    Not sure if this point has already been made, but one of the things I find most annoying about the ‘its political correctness gone mad’ brigade is they always try to dress up their argument as some ridiculous call for liberty and human rights.
    It’s as though a few decades ago comedians could make any jokes they wanted – they couldn’t. Hollywood used to self censor itself to an absurd degree. In Britain you had the Lord Chamberlain. Surely its much better for civil liberties now that comedians can make jokes about monarchs, presidents and those in power instead of minorities rather than vice versa.

  26. Suki says:

    I agree with him that political correctness is killing comedy. I personally have very dark humour (I am British) and I like shows like Psychoville, League of Gentleman, Ab Fab, Father Ted etc. Subject matters for some of these shows include homosexuality, rape, abortion, disabilities and many other things. I think humour is cathartic. Have you ever laughed when someone fell over in the playground? Or laughed at bad news? It doesn’t mean you are a bad person – it’s cathartic. I feel that humour is quite policed which I don’t understand. Humour is always making fun of someone or something, or at least usually that is the case. I don’t like that humour is being policed as if you are sexist (for example) if you laugh at the ‘lovely girls’ skit from Father Ted or support abortion if you laugh at Patsy’s barbed insults to Saffy in Ab Fab.