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New generation too woke for classic comedy, according to Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston says kids who find Friends think it's offensive in this day and age

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Jennifer Aniston thinks new generation is too woke for comedy
Jennifer Aniston
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

“Comedians can’t say anything nowadays” is such a typical thing for a comedian to say, it barely even registers anymore. But coming from the mouth of Jennifer Aniston, one of society’s most benign comic actors, it does come as a bit of a surprise. Sure, Jen’s been in the game long enough for her opinion to have some weight, but her comic stylings were never exactly controversial.

Nevertheless, “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,” Aniston tells AFP (via Yahoo News). “[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. And now we’re not allowed to do that.”


That is quite sad to hear—mostly because it sounds like Aniston has missed out on Veep and Succession and American Auto, all funny shows about awful people doing bad things. (This is to say nothing of the stand up comedy scene.) Twitter, naturally, did not agree with Aniston’s remarks, particularly as they applied to her most famous comedy, Friends.

“There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive,” the sitcom star claims. “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.”


Viewed through a modern lens, there are certainly aspects of Friends that have aged poorly. Truthfully, though, Friends doesn’t have that much cutting edge material (Ross’ lesbian ex-wife notwithstanding) to fall under the category of “cancelable,” and it is still enjoyed widely to this day. It was HBO Max’s most-watched program after its launch in 2020, and the 2021 reunion special was a veritable ratings smash. So perhaps comedy is not in as dire a state as Aniston contends.

The Murder Mystery 2 star does seem to be experiencing an entirely different comedy scene than the rest of us, as she laments to AFP the tragedy that fewer comedies are being made than there used to be. (The A.V. Club finds no data to back up this claim, but does have plenty of suggestions if Aniston needs a recommendation.) “Everybody needs funny,” the actor declares. “The world needs humor! We can’t take ourselves too seriously—especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.”