joker Taika Waititi

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Todd Phillips says ‘woke culture’ killed comedy—and Taika Waititi isn’t impressed

He didn't hold back the shade.


Libby Cohen

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 2, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 2:21 am CDT

Todd Phillips, the director behind the new Joker film, recently said “woke culture” is the demise of comedy. But fellow filmmaker Taika Waititi isn’t going to let the comment slide.

In an interview with Vanity Fair published Tuesday, Phillips said the era of political correctness explains why many filmmakers left the comedy industry.

“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips told Vanity Fair. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’”

Phillips also made the transition from comedy to drama. Phillips directed The Hangover movies before moving onto different genres with A Star is Born and now Joker.

“With all my comedies—I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common—is they’re irreverent,” Phillips continued. “So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but fuck 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 comment was met with lots of criticism online. Waititi responded in the shortest way.

“Lol he funny,” Waititi tweeted Wednesday morning. By the afternoon, the tweet had gained over 55,000 likes.

Waititi is behind the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder as well as Suicide Squad and Free Guy. His latest appearance is in an anti-hate satire, Jojo Rabbit, in which he plays an animated version of Adolf Hitler.

It was Waititi who faced ominously from comedy critics, according to IndieWire. Although critics say Jojo Rabbit makes light of the Holocaust, the film won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Waititi threw shade at Phillips a few days before Joker‘s debut on Oct. 4. Jojo Rabbit is set for theaters on Oct. 18.


H/T Indie Wire

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*First Published: Oct 2, 2019, 5:39 pm CDT