Mel Brooks has denounced political correctness for its negative impact on comedy.
The legendary comedian, known for producing such films as Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs, explained his feelings in an interview published Monday with The Daily Beast.
“I’ve never been a fan of political correctness. I’ve been a fan of decent behavior, which is different from political correctness. Because political correctness demands too much respect for being good. And comics are not good. We are bad. We whisper into the king’s ear. We tell him the truth. And that’s our job. It’s our job to say it like it is. And sometimes use the words that we use in the street. You can’t always play ball with the system, you have to strike out and tell the truth.”
Although Brooks says political correctness stifles comedy, the 91-year-old actor, writer, producer, director and composer says he believes only a small portion of people dislike provocative material.
“I think that people enjoy — that people love the comics that break the rules, that’s what I think,” Brooks said. “I think it’s only a sliver that really love political correctness. Everybody else likes the truth, which is different.”
This is not the first time Brooks has made such comments. The filmmaker said in 2015 that political correctness would be “the death of comedy.”
“We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy,” Brooks said. “It’s ok not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups. However it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks.”
Brooks is just one of a growing number of comedians speaking out against the attempts to limit the boundaries of comedic thought.
Stand-up comedian and television star Jerry Seinfeld in a 2015 interview said many comics avoid college campuses due to the sensitivities of students.
“I don’t play colleges but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges, they’re so pc,’” Seinfeld said on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
Fellow stand-up legend Chris Rock made similar comments in a 2014 interview with New York Magazine.
“It was just like, this is not as much fun as it used to be,” Rock said. “I remember talking to George Carlin before he died and him saying the exact same thing.”