Humor is David Zucker’s specialty.
Not the lazy blue variety that passes for comedy these days, but the laugh out loud kind that makes your sides hurt, your eyes water and the world disappear.
The mega-successful film director, producer and screenwriter is best known for the legendary spoof flick “Airplane!” and the side-splitting “Naked Gun” and “Scary Movie” franchises.
He happens to be one of our culture’s current reigning experts on all things funny, and he’s sounding an alarm bell for all to hear.
Lucky for us he has joined the ranks of other comedy greats who have issued similar warnings: Dennis Miller, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Gilbert Gottfried, Mel Brooks, Adam Carolla, Steve Harvey and John Cleese.
The giants of humor are all saying pretty much the same thing; that Tinseltown’s head honchos and their like-minded fellow residents of the New Woke Hollywood are virtually strangling comedians, comedy writers and comedy itself.
Zucker was recently featured in a video posted by PragerU, where he shared some reflections on his trademark comedy.
He doesn’t think the jokes that propelled his films to the top could be delivered today. Too many folks now fail to understand the nature of comedy.
Unlike most audiences of the past, many of today’s joke consumers are so easily offended that it has risen to the level of ridiculous.
If everything is offensive, then nothing is funny.
New Woke Hollywood is decimating the comedic arts, along with the writers and performers that bring laughter to our lives.
As Zucker stated, “They’re destroying comedy because of nine percent of the people who don’t have a sense of humor.”
He used a real-life Hollywood example to illustrate the point. In a pitching session that he and his writing partner did for a James Bond/Mission: Impossible-style parody, he was stunned by the reaction of an executive just to some of the project’s dialogue.
“One female executive said, ‘This joke is getting pretty risqué here.’ It was a mild joke about the lead female character. Because she had come up through the police department and through the FBI…she needed a breast reduction to fit into the kevlar vest,” Zucker said.
“It was pure oatmeal, so mild,” he said. “Not one of our funniest things, but this was too much. I thought, ‘If this was the criteria for it, we’re in big trouble.’”
In speaking of the past, he said, “We went where the laughs were…We never worried about any of this stuff with the Naked Gun or Scary Movie films.”
Zucker honed his comedic skills in the 1980s and 90s with movies like “The Kentucky Fried Movie” (1977), “Airplane!” (1980), “Top Secret” (1984), “Ruthless People” (1986), “The Naked Gun” (1988), “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” (1991) and BASEketball” (1998).
He added his 21st Century contributions “Scary Movie 3” in 2003 and its sequel “Scary Movie 4” in 2006.
Many of the films that he was involved with are now classics and continue to attract appreciative audiences and younger movie fans.
He is often asked whether his most iconic film could be made today.
“When we do screenings of ‘Airplane!’ we get the question if we could do ‘Airplane!’ today,” he said. “The first thing I could think of was, ‘Sure, just without the jokes.’”
According to Zucker, although in the current comedy climate freedom may be taking a hit, the future actually looks bright.
“Comedy is in trouble, of course, but I think it’s going to come back,” he said. “There’s a pendulum, and the pendulum will swing back. I’d like to see comedy filmmakers do comedies without fear.”
Zucker has gone against the grain in liberal Hollywood. He has even worked on political ads for the GOP and directed a political parody film at the expense of Michael Moore, titled “An American Carol” (2008).
Charmingly, he is a huge fan of Davy Crockett. He once made a cameo appearance dressed as Crockett in “The Naked Gun 2½.” As a matter of fact, one of his dream projects is a Crockett biopic. He also hosted a “Davy Crockett Rifle Frolic” at his ranch back in the 1990s. And he decided to write some additional verses to the celebrated song “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”
Regarding his faith, he was asked by the BBC some years ago whether he believes in God.
His answer was exquisite.
“Oh yeah, I believe in God,” he replied. “I think there’s much more evidence that there is a God than that there isn’t. I don’t believe that Mother Teresa and Hitler go to the same place. I believe in justice, maybe not in this life, but there has to be justice.”
In addition to justice, no doubt there’s laughter too.
As C.S. Lewis put it, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”