If you’re a fan of comedy, especially comedy that can be seen as pushing the limits of good taste, then you’re likely well aware that, in 2019, there’s a lot of scrutiny around that sort of humor. Some people, like Todd Phillips, think that this is a sign that comedy is dead because you can’t be funny anymore. Other people, such as Phillips’ “Joker” actor Marc Maron wholeheartedly disagree with that assertion.
As he explained in a recent WTF Podcast, Maron talked about Phillips’ recent comments about comedy and why he thinks that there’s a place for all sorts of humor, but those wanting to push the limits should expect to receive a bit of backlash.
He begins by calling Phillips’ explanation that “woke culture” is killing comedy “old” and “tired.” However, Maron goes into great detail, explaining why he doesn’t think the “Joker” filmmaker is correct.
“There’s plenty of people being funny right now. Not only being funny but being really fucking funny,” said Maron. “There are still lines to be rode. If you like to ride a line, you can still ride a line. If you want to take chances, you can still take chances. Really, the only thing that’s off the table, culturally, at this juncture –and not even entirely– is shamelessly punching down for the sheer joy of hurting people. For the sheer excitement and laughter that some people get from causing people pain, from making people uncomfortable, from making people feel excluded. Y’know, that excitement.”
He added, “As I’ve said before, it’s no excuse. If you’re too intimidated to try to do comedy that is deep or provocative, or even a little controversial, without hurting people, then you’re not good at what you do. Or maybe you’re just insensitive.”
As for those that defend the right to make jokes about any sort of event, whether its a tragedy or at the expense of other people, Maron says that he believes that there are comedians that want to ride that line of decency and are doing it for the art, not for any malicious reasons.
“I believe that there’s an earnestness to people that say that’s what they want to do,” he said. “I believe they don’t think they hurt people. I believe that they don’t think they’re causing trouble. I believe they just enjoy the challenge of pushing the envelope just to see if they can do it. I understand it.
Maron goes on to say that if you want to quit comedy because of “woke culture” and what Todd Phillips described, then “just quit.”
“Bottom line is no one is saying you can’t say things or do things,” concluded Maron. “It’s just that it’s going to be received a certain way by certain people and you’re gonna have to shoulder that. And if you’re isolated or marginalized or pushed into a corner because of your point of view or what you have to say, yet you still have a crew of people that enjoy it, there you go! Those are your people. Enjoy your people.”
Yes, we included a lot of quotes in this, but that’s to serve the purpose of allowing Maron’s full explanation to be read without taking anything out of context. Maron, like so many other comedians, has come out to say that comedy isn’t dead in 2019, despite some people swearing it is, and he’s also the type of comedian that wants to stick up for other folks that do push the limits because he knows plenty of people that do it.
Basically, Maron is talking about nuance and repercussions. Just because a comedian wants to say offensive things doesn’t make them mean or hurtful, but those people that want to do that, such as Phillips, have to fully expect that people will respond accordingly.