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Aeroplane! Writer and Director David Zucker Says Movie Could Never Be Made Today

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The director of the legendary ‘Airplane!’ movies speaks out in an op-ed against what he calls the “joyless Twitter 9 percent” ruining comedy.

David Zucker, those comedy classics like ‘Airplane!’ wrote and directed. and the ‘Naked Gun’ series, laments the current market where many of his indelible one-liners couldn’t fly.

This includes a reissue of his beloved first feature film.

“Although people tell me they love ‘Airplane!’ and it seems to be included in just about every top five movie comedies, there was talk at Paramount about withholding the reissue because of feared reactions to scenes that today would be considered “insensitive,” Zucker wrote in the New York Post.

Zucker points out specific scenes that he thinks wouldn’t fly today.

The director of the legendary ‘Airplane!’ movies speaks out against what he calls the ‘joyless Twitter 9 percent’ ruining comedy in an op-ed

David Zucker, those comedy classics like 'Airplane!'  wrote and directed.  and the 'Naked Gun' series, laments the current market where many of its indelible one-liners couldn't fly

David Zucker, those comedy classics like ‘Airplane!’ wrote and directed. and the ‘Naked Gun’ series, laments the current market where many of its indelible one-liners couldn’t fly

Aeroplane!  made over $170 million from US box offices in 1978

Aeroplane! made over $170 million from US box offices in 1978

He remembers one in which two black characters speak entirely in a dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled.

“I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, ‘You couldn’t do that scene today.’

“The bit was fair because we ridiculed both points of view,” he added. “No one was offended by that scene in the end, and the whole audience loved it. They still do.’

He also cites some jokes from the movie that involve children, including one where an 8-year-old girl says, “I like black coffee, just like my men,” or when a pilot asks a boy if he ever has been in a Turkish prison. . He says studios wouldn’t call back today with those jokes.

He credits producer Michael Eisner with trusting him to deliver the film in his vision.

Eisner somehow knew that comedy requires a certain amount of recklessness and that comedian writers and directors must experiment until they reach that perfect tone where a joke can lighten up uncomfortable subjects by giving us permission to laugh at them. ‘

He recalls a scene where two black characters speak entirely in a dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled which he thinks cannot be done today.

He recalls a scene where two black characters speak entirely in a dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled which he thinks cannot be done today.

Some of the other humor that Zucker says wouldn't be made today are jokes told by and to children

Some of the other humor that Zucker says wouldn’t be made today are jokes told by and to children

“I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, ‘You couldn’t do that scene today,'” he said.

He claims, citing “Joker” and “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips, that there are about “30 million people on Twitter” who are “killing the joy for everyone.”

He points out that that’s equivalent to about 9 percent of the US population. He says that type of person has always existed, but is now encouraged by social media.

‘Frankly, 9-Percenters are not a new segment of society; they have always lived among us. The difference now is that social media amplifies the voices of even the smallest subgroups, while the anonymity of the internet takes away all consequences.’

Ultimately, Zucker believes comedy has to “come out of hiding” and has a humorous, if impractical, way of doing it.

“Being a typical angry comedian, my immediate instinct is to kill the 9-Percenters one by one,” he joked. More practically, however, we can use our sense of humor and laugh so hard that we awaken the soul of our country and realize that we are all one human race, united in laughter.

Ultimately, Zucker believes comedy has to

Ultimately, Zucker believes comedy has to “come out of hiding” and has a humorous, albeit impractical, way of doing it

“Being a typical angry comedian, my immediate instinct is to kill the 9-Percenters one by one,” he joked.

Zucker cites other recent attempts at censorship of comedy and even family programming, such as a content warning placed before “Blazing Saddles.”

Shows like Looney Tunes and “The Muppet Show” have gotten their own content warnings for the decades-old shows.

More recently, comedian Dave Chappelle has sparked the ire of social media and transgender activists for material in his new special, “The Closer.”

The special has garnered 96 percent positive reviews from regular Rotten Tomatoes viewers — but only 43 percent from awake critics, many of whom have accused Chappelle of transphobia.

Rotten Tomatoes, which collects reviews from critics and regular viewers for movies and TV shows, has received more than 2,500 announcements from TV fans who watched the special. About 96 out of 100 regular viewers gave it a near perfect score. Many also wrote rave reviews with their reviews.

Conversely, the seven professional critics analyzed by Rotten Tomatoes come in at just 43/100, with many of the journalists behind those pieces being openly hostile to Chappelle for his alleged bigotry toward transgender people.

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