Three times in one week. I had three different people not connected with each other in the last 7 days comment how there hasn’t been a single comedy movie they had seen in years. It has gotten me to reflect, and I realize that I am in the same boat. It really is difficult for me to remember a comedy that I liked that’s come out in the last couple of years.
This Is The End? I had to look it up but it came out in June of 2013, over four years ago. Deadpool was definitely funny, but it also falls under the “Superhero” category. After Googling “Comedy Movies 2017”, I am left with gems like Baywatch, Girls Trip, The Big Sick, The House, and Chips.
Now let’s do the same search for 2008. Tropic Thunder, Step Brothers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Role Models, Semi-Pro, and even more. 2007 brought us Superbad, Knocked Up, Hot Fuzz, Blades of Glory, and Hot Rod. 2006 had Talladega Nights, Idiocracy, Borat, and Grandma’s Boy. You can keep this search going for decades and you will continue to find classics.
So what is causing this lull? The explosion of superhero movies is definitely not helping due to the fact so many studios are putting their capital towards those explorations, but it only explains a very small portion. The real problem has to do with the politically correct culture we currently live in.
This isn’t any more obvious than when I decided to go back and watch Blazing Saddles the other day. This spectacularly funny movie was made back in 1974 by the great Mel Brooks. Not only did I forget just how funny this movie was, I realized there is a 0% chance this movie could be made in 2017. And that isn’t an exaggeration – the film would have difficulty not getting controversy if only published as a YouTube video, let alone a major motion picture.
The fact that Blazing Saddles could not be made in 2017 is proof positive that creativity in comedy is currently being stifled. The next comedy that will break grounds is never going to make it past the idea stage.
Everyone is currently afraid to test out comedy in fear of offending anyone. A tweet storm can occur in an instance and next thing you know everyone is calling you a racist/misogynist/bigot for a joke you thought might land.
This has been slowly building for a while now. When Jerry Seinfeld, the least offensive comedian I can think of, won’t perform colleges any longer due to fear of offending people, we know we have a serious issue.
Luckily we still have Netflix coming out with an endless supply of standup specials from greats such as Dave Chapelle, Bill Burr, Norm MacDonald and others, so we aren’t being deprived of comedy entirely. We also fortunate enough to get Super Troopers 2 next year, so we can only hope that helps kickstart some actually edgy, funny movies.