Blazing Saddles is widely considered one of the greatest comedies in history. But, director Mel Brooks believes the satirical Western wouldn’t stand a chance today, blaming the current “stupidly politically correct” environment.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker recently appeared on BBC Radio 4, where he was asked if he thinks he could get films like The Producers, Young Frankenstein, or Blazing Saddles made in the present climate.
“Maybe, but never Blazing Saddles,” he responded. “Because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy. It’s okay 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. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”
Getting a kick out of being deemed the “Patron Saint of Going Too Far,” Brooks acknowledged that he would only draw the line at “gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis.”
The 1974 film was set in the American frontier during the 19th century and starred Cleavon Little as Sheriff Bart, an African-American put in charge of a predominately white town in hopes of driving the residents away and lowering land prices.
In a Twitter thread on Friday, comedian Paul F. Tompkins weighed in on Brooks’ comments. He disagreed with the acclaimed director, writing, “’PC Culture’ is not ‘killing’ comedy. There is still plenty of comedy. There always will be. Times change & so do comedy styles.” He continued, “There’s plenty of edgy satire out there, stuff that takes on the powerful.”
The Big Sick star and upcoming Saturday Night Live host Kumail Nanjiani also seemingly joined in the discussion, tweeting, “‘Political correctness’ means different things to different people. It’s a vague term. Which means it’s pretty much a useless term.”