'Joker' Actor Marc Maron Disagrees with Director Todd Phillips' View on Comedy and 'Woke Culture'

In a recent interview, Joker director Todd Phillips said he left comedy because of "woke culture"

Joker actor and comedian Marc Maron is speaking out after the movie’s director, Todd Phillips, blamed “woke culture” for ruining comedy.

During an episode of his podcast WTF with Marc Maron, Maron responded to Phillips’ recent comments and made it clear that he disagreed with the director’s views. The two worked together on the film Joker, which hit theaters last week and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the titular Batman villain.

“There’s plenty of people being funny right now,” Maron, 56, said. “Not only being funny but being really f—ing 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,” he continued. “For the sheer excitement and laughter that some people get from causing people pain, from making people uncomfortable, from making people feel excluded. Ya know, that excitement.”

Marc Maron, Todd Phillips
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic; Jim Spellman/FilmMagic

“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,” Maron added. “Or maybe you’re just insensitive.”

“Bottom line is, no one is saying you can’t say things or do things,” Maron concluded. “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 if you’re isolated or marginalized 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.”

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Philipps. Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Phillips — who directed comedy films including The Hangover and Road Trip — spoke out against today’s “woke culture” and explained how leaving the comedy genre led him to direct the comic book film Joker.

“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he told the magazine. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the f—ing funny guys are like, ‘F— this s—, because I don’t want to offend you.’”

“It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter,” Phillips, 48, continued. “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— 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.”

In its opening weekend, Joker earned $96 million at the U.S. box office, according to Box Office Mojo, and Phoenix is already receiving Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the iconic villain. Phoenix and Phillips even surprised moviegoers waiting to see the film last Thursday night in New York City.

Joker is in theaters now.

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