TheNew York Post David Zucker is the co-creator and director of the funny 1980 film. Plane(Not to mention the overlooked). Top SecretHe wrote an opinion piece on the death of comedy by Twitterati cancelling. He recalls celebrating the 20th Anniversary, in January last year.
Just before the world shut down, Paramount held a screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a Q&A in which an audience member asked a question we never used to receive: “Could you make ‘Airplane!’ today?”
My response: “Of course, we could. Just without the jokes.”
Although people tell me that they love “Airplane!” and it seems to be included on just about every Top Five movie-comedy list, there was talk at Paramount of withholding the rerelease over feared backlash for scenes that today would be deemed “insensitive.”
I’m referring to scenes like the one in which two black characters speak entirely in a jive dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, “You couldn’t do that scene today.”
Yet, I wonder why? Half the gags in that joke were aimed at white people, given that the translation for “s- -t” is “golly” — and the whole gag is topped off by the whitest lady on the planet, the actress who played the mom on It is best to let it go. translating.
Today’s younger viewers don’t get the added humor that Beaver’s mom, Barbara Billingsley, brings to the movie. Chump doesn’t need any help and chump won’t get any help! Zucker gave credit to Michael Eisner (then-CEO of Paramount) for giving the green light in 1979.
But in today’s market, if I pitched a studio executive a comedy in which a white lady has to translate the speech of black people; in which an 8-year-old girl says, “I like my coffee black, like my men”; or an airline pilot makes sexual suggestions to a little boy (“Billy, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”), I’d be told, in Studioese, “That’s just fantastically great! We’ll call you.”
Zucker mentioned Todd Phillips. The HangoverMovies:
Phillips summed up the general plight of the comedy writer when he said: “It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it. So you just go, ‘I’m out.’”
Many people see the exodus of comedians and conclude that comedy is dead. That’s not true. The comedy isn’t dead. It’s scared. It hides when it is afraid.
He concluded: “The fact that my movies are apparently loved, referenced and quoted by so many people after all these decades tells me that maybe I’m not the only one who enjoys shaking things up. I think maybe secretly we’re all a little bored by our lives. “Would there be comedy if boredom or anger were absent?”