Is Todd Phillips Right About “Woke” Culture Killing Comedy?

Comedy Features Joker
Is Todd Phillips Right About “Woke” Culture Killing Comedy?

Like mercury in retrograde, three to four times a year, Twitter becomes fixated on the idea that comedy is a dying form of entertainment and that the smoking gun is political correctness. Leading up to his new film, Joker, director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, The Hangover 2, The Hangover 3) signals comedy’s supposed demise in a profile of actor Joaquin Phoenix for Vanity Fair. The comic book adaptation is a departure from Phillips’s past, which was largely spend directing big studio comedies, and one he attributes to “woke culture.”

“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips says. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’ It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’”

Phillips’s quote swiftly made the rounds online sparking a new, yet familiar, debate. Is this another example of someone blaming the game for their own individual failings, or is the guy who directed Road Trip honestly onto something here? Is woke culture a poison that is actively killing comedy?

No. Of course not, Todd. You’re just lazy.


Okay, so I’ve got a word count, and rather than indulge in Todd’s nonsense any longer, I’d rather spend it on something worth indulging in: brigadeiro.

What’s brigadeiro? Oh lordy, ‘tis a beautifully simple Brazilian chocolate fudge-like truffle that requires no actual baking and only four ingredients. I can make it, an open mic’er can make it, John Mulaney can make it I’m sure.

Forget whatever it was I was talking about above and check out this recipe (from Bake Off contestant/human-angel Martha Collison’s book Crave.)

Here’s what you need:

25g of cocoa powder (Yea, we’re using grams. Buy a kitchen scale and stop fiddling with annoying measuring cups. What’s good for Mary Berry is good for us all.)

25g of butter (Like, almost 2 tbsp. Just buy a scale!)

1 × 397g tin of condensed milk (standard size)

Long chocolate sprinkles aka chocolate jimmies (Seriously, why rob yourself of the simple joy of calling them “jimmies?”)

Cook the condensed milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat (careful not to set it too high or the mixture will burn). Sift over the cocoa powder and stir until combined. Continue to stir using a silicone spatula, routinely scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking, until the mixture is thick and glossy. People say this should take only 10 minutes. People lie. Actually, stoves and ovens just differ and “medium heat” is a vague term. It might take you up to 20 minutes or so.

Anyway, once the mixture can cleanly pull away from the sides of the pot, or if a spoonful can hold its shape for a few seconds after being dropped into the pan, you’re done. Remove from the heat and spread the mixture out thinly onto a buttered plate, pan, or baking tray. Fridge for about 30 minutes. When fully cooled, butter your hands and rip and roll the fudgy mixture into small balls (or large, you do you). Finally, roll the balls in the chocolate jimmies until evenly coated.

Now you have a brigadeiro. Enjoy and, I don’t know, stream Fleabag, or something.

Olivia Cathcart is Paste’s assistant comedy editor.

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