Comedy legend Mel Brooks is speaking out about political correctness and how it is leading to the “death of comedy.” Best known for his politically incorrect comedies like “Blazing Saddles” and “The Producers,” Brooks has always taken risks with his writing by satirizing racism.
Brooks, who said he could find humor in almost anything, warned on Thursday that political correctness is strangling comedians from being able to perform and said there only a handful of subjects he personally wouldn’t make fun of.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Brooks stated: “We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy.”
“It’s not good for comedy,” he added. “Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”
In recent years, comedians have found themselves in hot water for making politically incorrect topics about everything from race to gender. Dave Chappelle received a barrage of criticism from humorless journalists over his jokes about transgender people and Caitlyn Jenner. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has also complained about how political correctness was stifling humor.
Asked if there were any topics he considered out of bounds, Brooks declined to dictate humor for other comedians, but said he “personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Everything else is OK.”
The comedic director and producer shot to fame with his creation of “The Producers” in 1967, which satirized Adolf Hitler in a fictional musical called “Springtime for Hitler,” which had a deliberately tasteless script featuring dancing stormtroopers.
In his interview with BBC, Brooks said that there was no way the 1974 western parody “Blazing Saddles” could be made in today’s political climate due to its satirization of racism. The movie featured a black sheriff, played by Cleavon Little, in a racist town.
He explained that the racial prejudice portrayed in the movie, which was far from politically correct, is what gave it cultural significance. “Without that the movie would not have had nearly the significance, the force, the dynamism and the stakes that were contained in it,” Brooks said.
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