Political Correctness

Mel Brooks: 'We Have Become Stupidly Politically Correct' and It's Killing Comedy

Could Blazing Saddles or The Producers get made today?

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Brooks
Dominic Lipinski/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks unloaded on political correctness yesterday, blaming P.C. pressures for undermining comedians' abilities to perform social satire.

"We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy," he said on BBC Radio.

Brooks, an actor, writer, and director known for making such comedies as The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Spaceballs, described comedy as "the lecherous little elf whispering in the king's ear, always telling the truth about human behavior." He complained that his 1974 film Blazing Saddles—in which a black sheriff overcomes the racism of an all-white frontier town—couldn't be made today, given the likelihood that someone would deem it problematic.

We have seen this phenomenon play out again and again in recent years. Can We Take a Joke? a documentary film directed by former Reason TV producer Ted Balaker, highlights a number of cases of comedians being castigated for making politically incorrect jokes on college campuses. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Tina Fey have made similar complaints.

Audiences are under no obligation to appreciate politically incorrect humor, of course, and tastes do change with the times. Consider this part of Brooks' comments, as reported by The Telegraph:

The director said he could find comedy in almost everything but conceded there were areas even he would not mine for material.

"I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis," he told the BBC's Radio 4's Today programme.

"Everything else is ok."

Brooks never satirized death chambers, but he did make fun of Nazis in his very first film, The Producers, in which a theater company produces a deliberately offensive pro-Nazi play called Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden. One could very easily imagine a boycott of the film today, with some activist accusing Brooks of normalizing Nazism.

But with the alt-right ascendant and white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, is not the need for un-PC Nazi-skewering greater than ever? We don't need to punch Nazis; we can just belittle them.

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  1. There is a screenplay opportunity there. “Charlottesville-the musical”

    1. Mr. Soave knows very well that certain forms of “humor” and “belittling” must be suppressed, whatever the so-called costs. Surely he would not dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Say what you will about Richard Spencer, but he is no Franz Liebkind, that’s for sure.

  3. “I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” he told the BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme.

    Mel Brooks is no Jerry Lewis, that’s for sure.

    1. No, he is not….Brooks is 10X funnier & more talented than Lewis & heckuva nicer guy!!!

  4. There is a -100% chance that ‘Blazing Saddles’, one of my favorite films, could be made today. A director making such an attempt would be lucky to survive even the attempt.

    1. They’d be ostracized from Hollywood for even reading the screenplay. Movie plots have become so PC that Hollywood has now moved on to the entire cast needing to be perfectly racially balanced to modern standards. It doesn’t even matter if during the actual time period of the story the story’s racially correct. Anything coming out of Hollywood must be proper group think.

      Also, cultural appropriation is bad. Unless it’s a white person, then it’s encouraged.

      1. Most movie plots have been reduced to a predictable formulae that includes rampant PC considerations, so I do agree but I suspect that the reason is that the ‘big’ movies are intended for non-American audiences so there can not be anything offensive to anyone in those films. Studios are more concerned with how the movie will fare in, say, India or China than they are over American audiences. Not that entirely discount what the American audience will think of it, but they want those sweet foreign audiences since CGI explosions make big bucks abroad, no script required.

        1. Actually just the opposite. The reason Hollywood is doing so poorly these days is everything IS made for American Audiences. Actually to be more specific, it is made for teen age boys in America. Most the World thinks American Movies are terrible, and well they are right. If you go to see a movie over seas, it will be foreign made films, with a real story and a real plot that people flock to see. The American films with no story and packed full of CGI rarely does well in foreign markets. They are typically mocked as typically American, for there hollow content, and over reliance on eye candy.

          1. Yeah, if you frequent European art house cinemas maybe. Where I live in Asia only shows the worst of Hollywood, and the locals gobble it up no end.

          2. A few days late and a few bucks short, but look at foreign profits on big Hollywood films and tell me I’m wrong.

    2. I don’t know – it could get made if they promoted it as a Richard Pryor movie, because in these times he would have had the Cleavon Little role, as Mel initially intended.

    3. And we would never learn where the white women were at!

  5. I missed ya Robby, how is the book coming?

    1. WHY IS EVERYONE BEING PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE TO SOAVE?

  6. The only “power” these idiots have is that which you give them. Tell them to fuck off and go about your life.

    Kowtowing gives them power.

    1. Amen brother!

  7. Candygram for Mongo!

    1. Mongo only pawn in game of life

  8. Fun fact: Melvin “Mel Brooks” Kaminsky cleared minefields for the Corps of Engineers during World War II. When Germans tried to demoralize his unit by setting up loudspeakers and blasting Nazi propaganda at them, he set up amps of his own and replied with outrageous anti-German jokes. Basically, the guy knows from both humor and Nazis.

    1. That’s gun smoking righteous.

    2. Good thing he was not fighting int he desert of North Africa. He would have those Nazis combing the desert for days.

      1. +1 We ain’t found shit!

    3. Nice info.

      Both Brooks, and this item, leave out mention of “To Be or Not To Be” – Brooks’ loose comedic remake of the 1940’s film. I like it a lot (and so does Brooks) though it got mixed reviews, and there is humour about nazis, and Jews, and people being killed by nazis. And humour about gays being targeted by nazis also. I think it’s quite funny, but agree or not, I think it fits in with the films-that-wouldn’t-be-made-today theme.

  9. I can’t believe they used to show that movie at my university’s theater. They’d set the campus on fire if that happened today.

    1. Used to show porn in the Forum building at Penn State on Friday nights.

      Good times!

      1. Did you ever see the linebacker coach there?

  10. “with the alt-right ascendant”

    They are not ascendant. They are just getting all the attention.

    1. To be fair, half of the “alt-right” getting the attention are conservative Jews like Ben Shapiro who are fighting the alt-right…

  11. I find social justice outrage to be hilarious, so the current climate has been a boon to me. While all of you have been having to autorotate land your roflcopters, the aftermath of the 2016 election almost made me bust a gut.

  12. They are still making movies?

  13. “I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” he told the BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme.

    I would. But I’m an a-hole.

    Brooks never satirized death chambers, but he did make fun of Nazis in his very first film

    Because making fun of Nazi’s is so edgy.

  14. Remember, to leftists, everything is political. So something can only be ‘funny’ if it’s one of their approved points of view, and even then it’s so stale no one else finds it funny. Just look up feminist humor on youtube.

    Just like how they can’t even acknowledge another side of an issue without devolving into name calling and assuming everyone else is evil, they can’t do that with comedy either.

  15. And it’s not that comedy is “politically correct”, it’s that it is overrun by dogmatic leftists. Look at how “funny” all the leftists are that we are told who are funny but are not, like Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, etc

  16. I love Mel Brooks but there have been plenty of controversial and outrageous movies and tv shows since. The Farrely Brothers, Sasha Cohen, South Park, plenty of fare on HBO and similar channels…

    Something like Blazing Saddles is downright tame these days. It was controversial back in the day but nobody thinks it’s controversial now.

    Making fun of Nazis and white supremacists? There’s been a surge of it recently. It’s all over late night tv and cable.

    1. Nothing shown on HBO today is remotely “controversial”.

      There are many films, particularly from the 1970s, that were “controversial” back in the day that couldn’t be made now.

  17. “But with the alt-right ascendant and white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, is not the need for un-PC Nazi-skewering greater than ever? We don’t need to punch Nazis; we can just belittle them.”

    Oh brother. Way to pick the left’s favorite cherry and run with it. Neo-nazis have been marching around since WW2. They’re alienated losers that want attention.

    A. the premise that anything about white supremacists is worse than ever is absurd.

    B. you seriously walked right past the connection between the “ascending” alt-right and the political correctness movement you just got through bemoaning??

  18. The most recent version of The Producers hit the big screen in 2005 with Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Will Farrell, and Uma Therman. I recall a fair share of faux outrage in the media back then. I would imagine that the cast wouldn’t dare to accept that script today with Hollywood’s continuing march toward irrelevancy.

  19. How could the YouTube link for the eponymous song not be provided?!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPXHRX8Q2hs

  20. “Don’t be stupid; be a smarty; come and join the Nazi Party!”

  21. “Alt-right ascendant”? Come on, Robby. Grow a pair.

    The “alt-right” (a) does not exist, and (b) is not “ascendant”. “Alt-right” is a term invented by Hillary during the election and basically just means whatever the user wants it to mean. Perhaps you, Robby, should have a sit-down with her and figure out what the two of you are talking about.

    There are factions out there that have become increasingly noisy, but they remain a scintilla of an iota of the political spectrum, far less in both numbers and noise than Antifa and the screaming liberals generally. So stop the kowtowing; I’m sure you look a lot better standing upright.

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