'Joker' star Marc Maron says media debate over 'Joker' is 'trying to provoke violence'

Ben Arnold
Marc Maron and Robert De Niro in Joker (Credit: Warner Bros)

Joker actor Marc Maron says movies can't be blamed for real-life violence, and focus on violence in his DC film has lead to people fearing potential incidents in theatres.

The comedian and podcaster, who has a small role in Todd Phillips’ film starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, took on the recent controversy around the film in his latest podcast, WTF with Marc Maron.

“I did one scene in the f**king Joker movie, and I did pretty good,” he told listeners.

“I know there’s a swirl of questions, some sort of cultural psychic whirlwind around the timing of the movie, the nature of the movie, whether this is the right time for a movie about a guy who’s mentally troubled and snaps.

Read more: Warner Bros responds to Joker violence controversy

“All that sh*t I understand, but shouldn’t the focus be on health care, mental-health treatment on a national level?”

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (Credit: Warner Bros)

The movie's release has seen a resurgence in talk around the case of the mass shooting at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012, during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Though any connection to the Joker character was later debunked, reporting at the time claimed that the shooter, James Holmes, was inspired by the character.

The cinema in Aurora said it would not be showing the new Joker movie, and families of the victims signed a letter to Warner Bros appealing for it to show 'social responsibility', in its movies.

Some have criticised Todd Phillips' film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a failing comedian with mental health problems, for sailing too close to the spate of 'incel' violence in the US.

Glenn Fleshler, Josh Pais, Brett Cullen, Frances Conroy, Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Leigh Gill and Marc Maron arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros Pictures "Joker, 2019. (Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Maron went on: “I know that that anger doesn’t always have a place to land, but it can’t land on movies. If anything the media debate of it is trying to provoke something awful to happen.

“Movies don’t cause this, and I don’t see how blaming movies is going to help anything. I don’t think that movies are to blame for mentally unstable people taking action in a criminal, violent way.”

Read more: Aurora cinema will not show Joker

Maron also reacted to Hangover trilogy director Phillips' recent comments claiming that 'woke culture' has killed comedy, and that he won't make any more comedy movies because of it.

“People ask me what I think about what Todd Phillips said about why he doesn’t make comedies anymore… because ‘you can’t be funny anymore, it’s gotten too difficult to be funny with woke culture.’ That tired saw. That old saw,” Maron said.

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 15: Comedian Marc Maron performs during the Bud Light Presents Wild West Comedy Festival - Marc Maron: WTF Podcast With Vince Vaughn at the Belcourt Theatre on May 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Bud Light)

“There’s plenty of people being funny right now, not only being funny right now, but being really fucking funny. There are still lines to be rode if you like to ride a line. If you want to take chances, you can still take chances… If you’re too intimidated to try and do comedy that is deep and provocative or even a little controversial without hurting people, then you’re not good at what you do.”

Joker is out now across the UK.