Quick, name your favorite Dan Aykroyd moment.
It might be his impression of Julia Child, bleeding profusely all over her faux cooking set. What about his sleazy salesman hawking children’s costumes brimming with glass shards?
Or, perhaps it’s his recurring gig as Elwood Blues, half of the iconic Blues Brothers alongside the late John Belushi.
Some of these comic morsels would no longer be permitted in our woke age. Certainly a Blues Brothers pitch today would be derailed as “cultural appropriation,” given how the Blues are considered part of the black cultural experience.
It turns out the “SNL” alum would happily cancel himself.
Aykroyd, 69, just gave a dispiriting interview to the far-left Hollywood Reporter tied to “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” The November release, delayed several times due to the pandemic, casts Aykroyd as his beloved Ray Stantz character one more time.
The magazine asked Aykroyd about Cancel Culture, and the comedy legend didn’t hesitate in embracing it.
There is enough range in humor where you don’t have to go scatological and you don’t have to go pulling any divisive cards to get a laugh. There is so much in the world to comment on that is outside the realm of offensiveness. As a writer, you can go to other areas and have successful creative endeavors. Scatological humor is fun. It’s easy laughs. But there is more intelligent writing that can happen if you stay away from the offensive material that should be rightly canceled for its hurtfulness. Who can be the subject of an impression today? That’s an area of discussion. Can I do my James Brown imitation? He was one of my best friends. I do his voice pretty good. But maybe I shouldn’t anymore.
If Aykroyd wants Cancel Culture to reign supreme, he might find his own work on the chopping block.
Consider his 1983 comedy, “Trading Places.” The film proved a sizable hit for him and co-star Eddie Murphy, but in recent years it’s come under attack for its racial humor. In one scene Aykroyd dons blackface as part of a disguise.
Could “Trading Places” get canceled, and his performance along with it? It’s certainly possible, especially since plenty of blackface TV episodes got memory-holed last year.
It’s a far cry from what his fellow “SNL” alum told the same outlet just a few days ago. Garrett Morris, the first black “SNL” player, defended a comedian’s right to offend while exploring the human condition.
Relax, everybody, this is comedy. Everybody can be the butt of a joke. And why should it be that if we joke about you, it’s sacrilege? You sit in the audience and laugh at jokes about everybody else. If we make a joke about trans [people] or gays, suddenly it’s sacrilege. And that’s what I got from that. I don’t see what’s wrong with that, with all due respect. I see it as nothing but a man saying publicly, “This is what I do.”
Either Akyroyd fears the woke mob will “unearth” his older, more problematic material or he no longer believes comedians have a right to explore challenging topics.
Like his “Trading Places” co-star, Murphy, digging into racial expectations in this classic sketch.
Either way, Aykroyd would be a snug fit in today’s safe, Uber-woke “SNL.”