It seems a stretch, but he may have a point! Comedy actor and The Righteous Gemstones star Adam Devine was on the This Past Weekend podcast promoting his new Netflix comedy The Out-Laws a few weeks ago. Some comments he made have now gone viral.
DeVine had a theory that Marvel movies, and other big superhero and blockbuster films, now rely on so much humor that they are essentially comedies, and this in turn is strangling the chances of movie comedies being made. Here is what he said:
“You watch comedies nowadays and you’re like, this is not a f—ing comedy. Where are the jokes? Where are the bits? There’s still good [comedy] shows, but movie comedy…it’s hard.
My theory: I think Marvel ruined it. I feel like superhero movies ruined comedies because you go to the theater and you expect to watch something that cost $200 million to make, and comedy movies aren’t that.
So you’re like, ‘Why would I spend the same amount of money to go watch a little comedy in the theater if I can spend that and watch something that is worth $200 million?’
And they still make those movies kind of funny, like, ‘Oh my god, is that raccoon talking? This is hilarious!’ Which it is, but it’s not a real comedy.
Every studio used to put out several comedies a year, and there were like 45 comedies in the theater per year. So every week or so, there’s a new comedy in the theaters. Now, last year, there was like 6 or 7. It’s crazy.”
He may have a point. $20 – $30 million comedies were immensely profitable for studios, and for a while, there was a production line of highly quotable, repeatedly viewable comedies for mature audiences just flowing out from major studios. Anchorman, Old School, Dodgeball, Ted, The Hangover… it was endless and it was kinda fun.
And now? Nothing. It’s a comedic wasteland out there. Although we can’t help feeling that DeVine may be missing the biggest issue. It is not just Marvel. All the best comedy is generally a bit close to the knuckle and unashamedly male-centric. Things that, these days, are simply classed as “problematic”. Female-centric comedies don’t exactly soar, and the late, great Christopher Hitchens knew exactly why.
DeVine’s The Out-Laws was produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison label. Parents Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin are bank robbers and DeVine’s character is a straight-laced bank manager. The film is now streaming on Netflix.
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