Before taking on the dark and twisted mind of DC's most iconic supervillain, Todd Phillips was known for directing popular R-rated comedies. Phillips was responsible for bringing films like Road Trip, Old School, and The Hangover to life, and now he's delivering Joker to audiences around the world, showing a much different side of himself. While Joker seems like a massive departure from his usual fare, it Phillips' perception of the current comedy landscape that led him to this project in the first place.
During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Phillips explained that the effects "woke" culture has had on comedy makes the genre less enjoyable and harder to create. So he decided to go a different route with this next project.
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips 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 sh*t, 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.”
So, according to Phillips, comedies can't be good anymore so he decided to make a Joker movie. Perhaps he hasn't seen films like Game Night, Sorry to Bother You, Booksmart, Blockers, Girl's Trip, Popstar, Good Boys, or any number of the hilarious, irreverent, R-rated comedies released in the past half-decade or so.
Comedies still exist, and there's no denying that they can push boundaries and still be accepted by the masses. Maybe Phillips just didn't appreciate the bashing of the less-than-desirable Hangover sequels and Joker is his response.
Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is set to hit theaters this Friday.