'Hangover' director Todd Phillips says he made 'Joker' because 'woke culture' killed comedy

Director Todd Phillips, left and actor Joaquin Phoenix pose for photographers upon arrival at the screening for the film Joker, at a central London cinema, Wednesday, Sept 25, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Director Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix (Credit: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Joker director Todd Phillips has said he quit making comedies because 'woke culture' has spoiled everything.

Prior to the brooding fury seen in Joker, Phillips was best known for making the Hangover trilogy of movies starring Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis.

But in an interview with Vanity Fair, the director said that comedians, and thereby comedy films, are now too scared to offend people.

“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the f***ing funny guys are like, ‘F*** this s***, because I don’t want to offend you.’”

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He added: “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*** 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.”

The Hangover (Credit: Warner Bros)
The Hangover (Credit: Warner Bros)

Before his 2016 movie War Dogs (which was a comedy drama, to be fair), Phillips had made almost exclusively comedies.

His first feature was the frat boy film Road Trip, followed by the likes of Old School with Vince Vaughn and the Starsky & Hutch remake in 2004.

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He also worked on the story for Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat, which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2006 Oscars.

Phillips has come under heavy fire in recent weeks for the violent content in Joker, which he has clapped back against, noting that the violence in movies like the John Wick series is celebrated.

Joker opens in the UK on October 4.