Airplane! director slams Hollywood for "destroying comedy" and says his movie couldn't be made today
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The director of the film Airplane! has accused Hollywood of 'destroying comedy' by trying to cater to people without a 'sense of humour'.
David Zucker co-wrote the 1980 comedy film after moving to LA in the 1970s, back when the city was 'like a little sleepy town' in comparison to what it is today.
He began creating spoofs of television adverts, but came up with the idea for Airplane! after seeing the movie Zero Hour, a film from the '50s in which a pilot is forced to confront his fear of flying when the crew on the plane he's travelling on fall ill.
Zucker's spoof of the movie proved to be a success and he has since worked on titles including The Naked Gun franchise, Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4, all throughout a changing Hollywood scene.
In a discussion with PragerU, he explained that the creators of Airplane! could be 'as offensive as [they] liked' in the script, saying they 'went where the laughs were' and 'never thought [they] were offending anybody'.
"If we were offending people, we were on the right track," he explained.
However, as the '80s turned into the '90s and 2000s, what was deemed appropriate in comedy changed.
"As time went on... it did change. We never worried about any of this stuff with the Naked Guns or even the Scary Movies," he explained.
However, Zucker recalled one incident in particular that occurred while he and his writing partner were working on a parody of James Bond and Mission: Impossible.
"One female executive said, ‘This joke is getting pretty risqué.’ It was a mild joke about the lead female character, because she had come up through the police department and FBI, she said she needed a breast reduction to fit into the kevlar vest. It was pure oatmeal, so mild."
He added that the joke wasn't 'one of [their] funniest things', but thought that if it met the criteria for being 'risqué' then they were 'in big trouble'.
He continued: "They’re destroying comedy because of nine percent of the people who don’t have a sense of humour.”
More than 40 years since its original release, there continues to be screenings of Airplane! and questions about whether the creators could make the same film today.
In response to that question, Zucker explained: "The first thing I could think of is sure, just without the jokes.”
Though it might not be met as favourably if it were brand new, Airplane! remains a much-loved comedy today with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97 percent.
Featured Image Credit: PragerU/YouTube/Paramount Pictures
Topics: TV and Film