Todd Phillips Explains How 'Woke Culture' Ruined Comedy, Led to Joker

Joker director Todd Phillips has revealed how "woke culture" directly led to his upcoming take on the Clown Prince of Crime.

Prior to working on Joker, Phillips was primarily known for such comedies as Old School and The Hangover. In a profile on star Joaquin Phoenix in Vanity Fair, Phillips revealed how he began to find making comedies difficult due to "woke culture" and that directly led to Joker, which he pitched as a dark movie without many of the typical conventions of superhero movies.

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“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the f*cking funny guys are like, ‘F*ck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’ It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. 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*ck 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.”

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Despite initially positive reviews following the movie's premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Joker has proven controversial, with many wondering about the potential real world impact of the movie and its portrayal of violence. In September, a question about whether Joker might inspire violence led to Phoenix walking out of an interview. Still, despite the controversy, Joker is tracking to be a major box office success.

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.

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