Remember R-rated comedies?
They made us howl in theaters nationwide, and we watched them over and again once they reached cable and streaming outlets. Think:
- “There’s Something About Mary”
- “Step Brothers”
- “Role Models”
- “Knocked Up”
- “Wedding Crashers”
- “The Hangover”
Now, what was the last R-rated comedy that crushed the box office? Yes, 2021’s “Free Guy” proved a rare, and wonderful, comic treat. It did so under the PG:13 ratings banner, though.
Joe Rogan knows what happened.
“Wokeness killed the comedy movie in a lot of ways,” Rogan told guest Tom Papa on the latest episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
He’s right, of course. The new comedy rulebook, unofficial but binding, makes adult humor a challenge if not a career-threatening endeavor.
“Is there even an attempt at a politically correct comedy movie?” he asks.
Joe Rogan and Tom Papa discuss how Wokeness killed the comedy movie genre.
“They murdered the comedy movie”. pic.twitter.com/cziwTDEMrJ
— Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) March 9, 2022
Rogan brought up “American Psycho,” the 2000 movie based on Bret Easton Ellis’ celebrated tome. That film showcased a serial killer and his curious pop culture fixations. That kind of story, Rogan notes, would still be permissible in today’s woke society.
The woke Left also looks the other way at professional hitmen movies.
Comedies, on the other hand, work under a curious and more restrictive set of boundaries.
“There’s a weird thing that happens when you’re making fun of something … it’s supposedly an endorsement of what that activity is, even if it’s completely unacceptable,” Rogan says. Consider how USA Today once railed against “Animal House,” in part, because some students behaved oh, so badly, in the film.
Papa suggested younger Americans are more accepting of harder-edge comedy. That could pave the way for a return to old-school comedies.
Rogan, suddenly well versed in Cancel Culture, gently disagreed.
“If you did make that movie, the backlash would be absolutely real. People would go crazy. But that’s what they’re afraid of. They’re not afraid of whether or not they’d have a market [for the film],” he says. “They would definitely have a market, but how many people would be canceled because of it? How many people would be attacked because of it? How bad would the studio get protested?”
“When was the last great comedy movie, where people were roaring in the movie theater … and then they told everybody they had to go see it,” he says. “The genre has been murdered.”
Rogan admitted some PG or PG:13 rated comedies are still funny, like the “Jumanji” series. That doesn’t distract from his main point.
Todd Phillips certainly agrees with Rogan.
The “Joker” director is responsible for a crush of bawdy, R-rated comedies like the “Hangover” trilogy, “Old School” and “Road Trip.” So why did he helm a supervillain film in 2019 instead of returning to his preferred genre?
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips told Vanity Fair. “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. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’
Phillips said that in 2019 during his “Joker” press tour. Has the situation changed at all since then? Have any screamingly funny, R-rated film hit theaters over the past three years?
Rogan knows the answer to that question. And so does everyone else.