Nolte: ‘Late Night’ Projected to Be Latest Woke Comedy to Flop at Box Office

Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling in Late Night (2019) Titles: Late Night People: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling (Emily Aragones/3 Arts Entertainment
Emily Aragones/3 Arts Entertainment

Late Night, Hollywood’s latest woke comedy (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) is projected to be a massive flop just like every other woke comedy released this year.

Naturally, the critics freakin’ love Late Night, which stars Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling (who also wrote the script).

Check out this rave:

A professed feminist, Katherine [Thompson] also seems blind to the fact she has no women on her sullen writing staff. That changes with the addition of a woman of Indian descent, Molly Patel (Kaling), who has absolutely no experience in this kind of job but fits the right diversity chords. Basically ignoring her at first, Katherine eventually manages to bond with the new hire, who after a few stumbles — and resistance, of course, from the disgruntled guys in the room — starts to come up with some bright ideas.

And this one:

She shows up for her first day of work bearing cupcakes. One of her mantras is Yeats’ Cloths of Heaven, which she chants as she walks towards the office:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Molly brings her Quality Control experience to bear, suggesting ways to make the show better (ingratiating herself with no one). Kaling knows this territory very well, the lack of diversity in writers’ rooms, plus the overall boys’ club mentality of comedy in general.

Gee, I can’t imagine why this finger-wagging lecture about how to conform to the establishment’s view of “correctness” and “appropriate” is only projected to clear four to five million dollars, despite slobbering reviews and a wide release on 1500-plus screens.

Isn’t that why YOU go to comedies — to be told to conform, for instructions on how to bend to the establishment, to learn the rules, to receive a lecture about why your skin color and gender either make you superior or inferior?

Did these idiots learn nothing from the Ghostbusters remake, which did not tank because vaginas, but because it was a strident, unfunny, finger-wag that (unfairly) trashed the beloved original as sexist and sneered at those who dared to not react in the “appropriate” fashion when the all-vagina reboot was announced?

If the projections hold, Late Night is about to join this growing pile of woke comedies that range from box office disappointments to outright disasters.

The Hustle, a feminist remake of Frank Oz’s 1988 near-classic with Steve Martin and Michael Caine, belly-flopped with just $34 million domestic — which probably didn’t cover the promotion budget.

And I say “feminist remake” as opposed to a “female remake” because there’s a difference, which the trailer makes clear.

Comedies are not supposed to scold, to feel like homework, to come at you from a position of superiority, and they sure as hell are not supposed to propagandize in favor of conforming with the ruling establishment.

What comedies are supposed to do is encourage us to rebel, to stick it to the woke-snobs, to tell us to be free, eat cheeseburgers, smoke cigarettes, and shock the squares with all things inappropriate.

Which brings me to Seth Rogen’s Long Shot, another critical darling that tanked at $30 million domestic.

Nazis are bad, a woman should be president… Oh, boy, that sounds like a ton of laughs…  But is it okay if I stay home and watch Animal House again cuz bewbs?

Long Shot cost $40 million to produce and at least that much to promote — which means it is almost a total write off.

Remember What Men Want?

Well, neither does anyone else because it only cleared $57 million, which means it made money due to a low budget, but disappointed because it was not as advertised — was not a gender flip comedy.

The original, 2000’s pretty good What Women Want, was about how awful men can be. But guess what? What Men Want is also about how awful men can be! A true gender-flip comedy would be about a woman discovering how awful women can be. But the remake couldn’t do that because woke and stuff.

What’s more, the original What Women Want was also about laughing at ourselves, about accepting flawed people as they are, about falling in love… and it grossed $374 million worldwide.

What Men Want was sold as a strident lecture and grossed $300 million less than that.

And now we get to talk about Booksmart, which critics slobbered over as it managed to lose money even with a $6 million budget because its pathetic $18 million box office gross can’t begin to cover the promotion and advertising budget.

Doesn’t this sound like fun:

Gender also underscores the transformative stakes of their big night, as what Molly and Amy are ultimately meant to learn is the virtue of relaxing and trusting that their lives will actually improve when they aren’t trying to manage every single second in the pursuit of eventual success.

Women and girls know just how major of an undertaking that can be, given the incentives we have — economically, personally, legislatively — not to just let go and trust the universe to provide. That may be why similar themes run through two other recent women-centered comedies set in liminal spaces.

FYI: If you Google “luminal” the government automatically puts you in its “Cuck File.”

Oh, the laughs you will have at Booksmart:

As wonderful as it was to watch a movie about strong and supportive female friendships, it was just as refreshing to see it set in a high school that’s full of diverse students, different sexual orientations and gender expressions. The supporting cast is just as wonderfully funny as the stars and is given something more to do than be the token high school stereotypes.

If this doesn’t sell you, nothing will…

Booksmart instead deals with messy realities. Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (the quiet, brilliant Kaitlyn Devers) are best friends who’ve cast themselves as intellectual pariahs in a sea of high school misfits more concerned with partying, drugs, blow jobs, and failing up. Molly, class president, is headed to New Haven (“Call it Yale,” Jason Sudeikis, their exasperated principal by day, Lyft driver by night, tells her), and Amy is off to Columbia by way of a gap year in Botswana making tampons for women who don’t have them. Molly wants to become the youngest Supreme Court justice and has seemingly crafted her life to achieve that goal; Amy’s less clear on where her path will lead, but has been following in Molly’s domineering thrall.

…because that’s what I look for in a comedy: well-to-do protagonists with their futures all assured who like to look down on us louts having a good time…

The Hollywood comedy is dead and has been for a long, long time. Smut papered over that fact for a few years, but smut is no substitute for plot, snark is no substitute for wit, Tolerance Porn is no substitute for celebrating individualism, and the celebration of an ordered society filled with hive minds is no substitute for celebrating freedom.

The moralizers, the stuffed shirts, the holier-than-thou prudes, the goody-goody puritans have grabbed hold of the levers of power everywhere, including the entertainment business, and the result is a movie industry that tells us to embrace Hot Lips Houlihan and despise Rodney Dangerfield.

What do all these flops have in common? An insufferable air of self-importance, a suffocating sense of sanctimony and smug…

Thank you for your $12. Now you just need to sit there, be quiet, and learn how to behave.  

Man, I miss T&A.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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