Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Comments on Joker Controversy

The Joker debate reached the presidential election today. Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg took part in an interview on Snapchat’s Good Luck America With Peter Hamby. Hamby asked the South Bend Mayor about his thoughts on comments made by Joker director Todd Phillips in regards to comedy in modern culture. "Two things are true,” Buttigieg began. “One is that part of how comedy works is it challenges our conventions, it challenges our sensitivities, and that's a part of what it can contribute. Another thing that's also true is hurtful things and hateful things often come at us in the form of humor and just have to learn how to handle both of those things. When a piece of art that is out there to challenge conventions, does something that's really harmful, then I think it's time to turn it off. But we get to have those debates.”

Buttigieg was then asked about how Joker depicts violence and about the worries that the film could inspire violent acts in the real world. “I think it's a cop-out to blame pop culture for violence…” Buttigieg replied. “What I will say is that the culture we produce reflects us. And if you see a dark dystopian film doing well, it might be because the American people are feeling unsettled and bothered and maybe dark in a time like this."

Hamby then broadened the discussion beyond Joker to touch on comedians like Bill Burr and Dave Chappelle who have challenged “woke culture” in their recent specials. Hamby noted Chappelle’s jokes about transgendered people in his Netflix special. "I haven't seen the special, but I will say that there comes a point where you're just straight up hurting people, I don't know what goal you're hoping to achieve,” Buttigieg said. “As much as there has been a lot of political correctness, there's also this weird way in which it's become fashionable to attack political correctness that I think it has become its own weird correctness out there.

“At the end of the day, I may be at risk of sounding simplistic, I'm just coming at this from the perspective of, like, helping and hurting. Is what we are doing every day, whether you're a politician or a comedian or an artist or a business person or whatever, are you doing more good than harm out there? And if you’re not, it’s time for some reflection and time for some adjustments.”

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What do you think of Phillips’ comments about comedy? What do you think of Buttigieg’s response? Let us know in the comments. Joker is now playing in theaters.

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