Whoopi Goldberg Defends A Classic Comedy From Cancel Culture

By Mark McKee | Published

whoopi goldberg star trek

With cancel culture raging for the last decade, we never honestly know what will go over and what will incite the ire of the mob and cause a movie, series, or celebrity to get forced out of the limelight. On a recent episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg stepped up to defend a film from the idea of cancel culture by calling it satire that needs to be seen. According to Variety, Whoopi had a message to all of those who call the film problematic, telling them not to touch Mel Brooks‘ Blazing Saddles, or she would come for them. 

The conversation on The View started with the discussion of co-writer Mindy Kaling’s comments suggesting that NBC’s The Office could never get made today because of society’s changing opinions on what is appropriate. While the hosts started to discuss other projects they believed would never be accepted today based on their problematic themes, Whoopi Goldberg defended Blazing Saddles by talking about its approach to more than just racism. The Star Trek actor claimed that the film is important because it approached racism and other isms straight on using satire, but on top of being funny, it stopped to make you think. 

The film takes place in the tiny Old West town of Rock Ridge, where a corrupt politician wants to push the residents out of town to make way for the approaching railroad; with that goal in mind, he appoints a black sheriff. Of course, the reception of the black sheriff is filled with racial hate and anger until he befriends Gene Wilder and pushes the politician out of town, gaining the town’s trust. What Whoopi Goldberg talks about in her analysis of the film is referring to the way it broke racial stereotypes and assumptions using jokes similar to the way Richard Pryor did on stage, by laughing at white people in a way that had white people laughing along with them. 

blazing saddles
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles.

Whoopi Goldberg herself is not one to shy away from controversy, as she has established herself as someone unafraid to catch the ire of audiences on her show, The View. Most recently, the host earned herself a two-week suspension before she delivered an apology for criticizing attendees of a conservative conference and lumping them in with the protesters outside the building, calling them all neo-nazis. She also has faced backlash for saying that the Holocaust wasn’t about race, gaining fans’ and the media’s ire. She has always been one to speak her mind, and when it comes to cancel culture, she has spoken it again in defense of Blazing Saddles

There is no doubt that cancel culture has changed Hollywood, forcing writers, producers, and stars to think twice about what is appropriate to say or joke about. While Dave Chappelle is a seasoned veteran of comedy, he has faced considerable backlash for his jokes about specific groups, not leaving anyone out of his bits. Whoopi Goldberg has now defended that same approach in a fifty-year-old film, setting the stage for a conversation about a safe space for comedy as a whole.