Good comedy has always striven to tell the truth and push boundaries.
According to Billy Crystal, however, the cancel culture that’s come to permeate society has made it difficult for comedians to do just that.
“It’s becoming a minefield and I get it,” the 73-year-old comedy icon said in an interview with the New York Post. “I don’t like it, I understand it… I just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s all you can do right now.”
Discussing the current state of the society, he quipped, “It’s a totally different world [now] and it doesn’t mean you have to like it.”
Crystal spoke with the Post to promote his new movie “Here Today”, the first film he’s directed in more than 20 years.
The film follows the unlikely friendship that blooms between street singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish) and veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Crystal), who is fighting a losing battle with dementia.
Despite the film’s serious themes, Crystal insists that the focus of “Here Today” is the sweet rapport between the two disparate characters, who come from very different backgrounds.
“That’s something that we really need more of, the country, and that is empathy and that’s what I think is the beautiful part of this friendship,” he said. “She gives up a chance for her career to move forward to take care of him. And I think that’s a beautiful thing.”
Crystal, regarded as one of the best Oscars hosts of all time, was also asked to weigh in on this year’s host-free, socially distanced edition.
“Were they on?” he joked.