'Joker' star Marc Maron says media debate over film is 'trying to provoke something awful to happen'

Ben Arnold
Contributor

Joker actor Marc Maron says movies can't be blamed for real-life violence and the focus on the psychological comic book drama has led to people fearing potential incidents in movie theaters.

The comedian and podcaster, who has a small part in Todd Phillips’ film starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, took on the recent controversy around the film in his latest podcast episode, WTF with Marc Maron, which was released on Thursday.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Marc Maron attends the premiere of Warner Bros Pictures "Joker" on September 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

“I did one scene in the f**king Joker movie, and I did pretty good,” he told listeners.

“I know there’s a swirl of questions, some sort of cultural psychic whirlwind around the timing of the movie, the nature of the movie, whether this is the right time for a movie about a guy who’s mentally troubled and snaps,” he said. “All that s**t I understand, but shouldn’t the focus be on health care, mental health treatment on a national level?”

The movie's release has seen a resurgence in concerns around crowd safety at screening, in wake of the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in 2012 during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

The Aurora, Colo. movie theater said it would not be showing the new Joker movie, and families of the victims signed a letter to Warner Brothers appealing for it to show “social responsibility” in its movies.

Some have criticized Todd Phillips' film for glorifying realistic depictions of violence, but Maron defended the film.

“I know that that anger doesn’t always have a place to land, but it can’t land on movies. If anything the media debate of it is trying to provoke something awful to happen.

“Movies don’t cause this, and I don’t see how blaming movies is going to help anything. I don’t think that movies are to blame for mentally unstable people taking action in a criminal, violent way.”

Maron also reacted to Hangover trilogy director Phillips' recent comments claiming that "woke culture" has killed comedy and that he won't make any more comedy movies because of it.

“People ask me what I think about what Todd Phillips said about why he doesn’t make comedies anymore… because ‘you can’t be funny anymore, it’s gotten too difficult to be funny with woke culture.’ That tired saw. That old saw,” Maron said.

“There’s plenty of people being funny right now, not only being funny right now but being really f***ing funny. There are still lines to be rode if you like to ride a line. If you want to take chances, you can still take chances… If you’re too intimidated to try and do comedy that is deep and provocative or even a little controversial without hurting people, then you’re not good at what you do.”

Related Video: Safety at ‘Joker’ Screenings a Cause of Concern

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