Writer and director David Zucker says he could only make Airplane! today if they got rid of all the jokes.
Speaking to conservative platform PragerU in a video called “Why can’t Hollywood take a joke anymore?”, Zucker explained how when he first started making movies in the 1980s “we could be as offensive as we liked.”
He continued: “We went where the laughs were. We never thought we were offending anybody but if we were offending people, we knew we were on the right track. As time went on, it got to be the ‘90s and the 2000s, it did change. We never worried about any of this stuff with The Naked Gun or the Scary Movie films.”
Zucker went on to say that he wrote a parody of James Bond and Mission Impossible, but a female executive had reservations about a joke she believed was “pretty risqué”.
“It was a pretty mild joke about the lead female character, because she had come up through the police department, the FBI said she needed a breast reduction to fit into the kevlar vest,” explained Zucker. “It was pure oatmeal, it was so mild. It wasn’t one of our funniest things but it was (seen as) too much. I thought jeez, if this was the criteria for it, we’re in big trouble.”
“They’re destroying comedy because 9 per cent of people don’t have a sense of humour,” he continued. “When we would do screenings of Airplane!, we would get asked if we could do Airplane! today. Sure, without the jokes.”
He then went on to say that “comedy is in trouble” but he believes it’s “going to come back.”
“There’s a pendulum, the pendulum will swing back. I would like to see comedy filmmakers do comedy without fear. We used to do whatever we wanted, then try it out on audiences (in theatres). If something was truly offensive, you’d get a giant sucking sound out of the audience and that’s not good. We don’t want to make a point, we don’t want to educate, we just want to make people laugh.”
Zucker’s last film was 2013’s Scary Movie 5 which he wrote and produced after directing Scary Movie 3 and 4. He’s set to direct, write and produce the upcoming noir-spoof film The Star Of Malta though the film doesn’t currently have a release date.
In other news, it’s been reported that Liam Neeson is set to lead a reboot of The Naked Gun.