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Paul Feig: “I love watching funny biting stuff, reading funny tweets, or seeing those funny Instagram posts that also have a purpose. I mean, that’s what comedy has had the power to do forever. But then as far as mainstream comedy goes, we’re in a weird place where comedy isn’t tending to draw people to theaters as much as it did. If you look back in the past, there would be a lot of comedies going on in theaters, but it’s been slowing down for a while now. So, I don’t know… Comedy is never going to go away, it’s just going through a bit of a shift in what people want and expect from it. Thinking back to around 2011 when we were trying to promote Bridesmaids, I felt there was a real hostility towards comedy from a lot of people in the audience and on the Internet. There was this feeling that we were trying to hoodwink them, that we were trying to manipulate them into thinking this movie was going to be funny when it really was going to be stupid or dumb or bad. And that started growing as the years went on, people really hostile to the fact that we’re trying to make them laugh. And I think it might be that a lot of comedies don’t work or aren’t as good as they could be. And so, over the years, people have felt they’ve been duped into going to see something that was supposed to be hilarious and then it wasn’t. And I also noticed that around the campaign season that led to the 2016 election, people were just in a very surly mood! Nobody seemed to want to laugh as much as they wanted to fight. True — we also saw a reflection of that narrative in the kinds of movies that dominated the box office. Initially I thought, “Well, no, now people are going to want comedy because now they’re going to need that escape.” But actually what happened was that people doubled down on that anger. Comedy was even less welcome. It was like, “We just want to fight!” So these superhero movies, good versus evil, big powerful characters killing each other or fighting each other… That became this catharsis for people. But then I saw a shift maybe two years in where people did start getting fatigued. Romantic comedies started having this big comeback, not in the theaters, but on the streamers like Netflix. And people were escaping into that.”

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