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Steve Martin Doubts ‘The Jerk’ Would Work in Current PC Climate

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After being selected to receive the American Film Institute’s 43rd Life Achievement Award, actor and comedian Steve Martin sat down with the Hollywood Reporter to discuss his success and look back at a nearly 50-year career.

While the 69-year-old was at one time very active on Twitter, he admitted to the industry news site that he has cut “way back” on his tweets as of late, and said, “there’s a lot of grief on Twitter and the Internet, and I just cut back to do other things.”

Martin made the revelation after discussing his wildly popular 1979 comedy The Jerk, which he admitted might not be a big hit in today’s politically correct climate.

When asked by THR’s Gregg Hilday if the film, which stars Martin as an idiotic white man raised by black sharecroppers, who does not realize he’s adopted, would work with modern racial sensitivity, Martin replied:

I haven’t looked at The Jerk in a long time. But looking back, everyone was treated with such respect, and we had that fabulous opening with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee singing on the porch, two very well-known blues artists.

He added: “You might get a kind of knee-jerk reaction, but it would be hard to get a verdict in court against it.”

WATCH a scene from The Jerk:

Martin lays some of the blame for today’s quick reactions on the Internet, specifically regarding the case of Daily Show host-in-waiting Trevor Noah, who came under fire in March after old posts on his Twitter account surfaced and were deemed sexist and racist.

“It’s hard, but that’s the Internet,” he replied. “When you put something on TV or in a club, it doesn’t seem to have the same shock value that it gets on the Internet, which is really a good reason to stay off the Internet.”

Mel Brooks presented Martin the AFI’s Life Achievement Award on Thursday, June 4, but the ceremony will not be broadcast until Saturday June 13, at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on TBS.

 


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