Jennifer Aniston said she wishes we could laugh more at ourselves, rather than having to police every word in comedies.
“Comedy has evolved, movies have evolved,” the Friends star, 54, told AFP in Paris, where her new film Murder Mystery 2 with Adam Sandler, is set.
“Now it’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life,” she said.
In the past, “you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh – that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were,” she said. “And now we’re not allowed to do that.”
Aniston said the culture had changed dramatically since the days of Friends in the 1990s.
“There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive.
“There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through – but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now.”
These issues are perhaps the reason why Hollywood is turning out far fewer comedies in recent years, which Aniston said was a tragedy.
“Everybody needs funny! The world needs humour! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided,” she said.
For co-star Sandler, the other big change has been the budgets, with comedies now expected to look as good as expensive blockbusters and dramas.
“You know what else has changed about comedies? The look,” Sandler joked, pointing to his clothes.
“Remember when we used to make comedies? They would give you a budget, not too much money, and say: ‘Do whatever you can with that.’
“And now they want us to look pretty awesome. We work harder on that,” he said with a laugh.
Murder Mystery 2 follows the hit Netflix film from 2019 in which Sandler’s detective and his wife become embroiled in a whodunnit on holiday.
The sequel, streaming from Friday, sees the duo travel to Paris after a wealthy friend is kidnapped.