NY Post Plays 'Gotcha' With Comedy Great Billy Crystal on 'Cancel Culture'

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Once upon a time, when brand-name actors struck out on promotional/junket tours for their newest Hollywood release, they could expect lighthearted, if sometimes repetitive, queries about their movie from the entertainment writers tasked to interview them.

Maybe, every once in a while, the actors are peppered with banal fishing expeditions into their personal lives, but that’s something they come to expect as a celebrity.

But over the years, as RedState readers might be aware, politics have been allowed to creep into the otherwise non-political coverage of Hollywood and the movies. One recent example of this phenomena, which I talked about with my Townhall Media colleague Brad Slager, who joined me on the “Lower Culture With Becca Lower” podcast Oscars special, was the Chicago Tribune’s film writer deciding to interject his progressive opinions into the Oscar picks column he wrote leading up to the night of the ceremony.

Because of this odd, activist behavior, mostly gone are the cookie-cutter, promotional exchanges between Hollywood reporters and actors just trying to get the word out about their new film. That’s the situation comedy legend Billy Crystal found himself in with a NY Post writer, during a new interview meant to promote “Here Today,” the new comedy he stars in and directs.

Notice the headline of the article:

It’s total clickbait and comes from one minor part of the interview, which featured the Post writer’s pathetic bombardment of Crystal with questions meant to bait the actor into wading into the ‘cancel culture’ debate:

Billy Crystal doesn’t sound too impressed by the current state of comedy and cancel culture.

“It’s becoming a minefield and I get it,” the comedian told The Post. “I don’t like it, I understand it … I just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s all you can do right now.

“It’s a totally different world [now] and it doesn’t mean you have to like it,” he added, with a laugh.

And as with all Hollywood awards shows, the politics of commenting on whether or not this year’s Oscars broadcast was good (or if a former host even tuned in) are a third-rail. Crystal wisely knew that was the trap being laid here:

Asked if he watched the trainwreck awards show this year, he slyly asked after a slight pause, “Were they on?”

“You know I’d rather talk about ‘Here Today,’ ” he said, but not before adding, “It’s an interesting time, it’s an interesting time.”

Both lines of ‘gotcha’ questions were noticed — and not in a good way — by a couple of Hollywood insiders, in a Twitter thread Thursday night. Read how C. Robert Cargill, a longtime, online movie critic (over 10 yrs. at Ain’t It Cool News) and, according to IMDb, the screenwriter/co-writer of “Doctor Strange,” “Sinister,” and more, began the conversation:

He continued:

That’s when IndieWire’s Deputy Editor of film content, Kate Erbland, who did her own interview with the actor/director for his new movie, hopped in:

Cargill replied:


And she responded, making it clear that the fault was entirely on the reporter — not Crystal:

He was so nice and so willing to talk about things and reading that it was just…how to say…I think he saw what was going on and didn’t like it and clammed up — FAIR — and they turned it into something else entirely. Horrible.

You can’t blame her for sharing the article with this note up-top:

I had a lovely talk with the wonderful Mr. Crystal about filmmaking and comedy and his new film and pandemic watches and even literally the hospital where he was born and all sorts of things, if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing.

If some (younger) readers might not be aware, here’s a little history on Crystal: he’s a revered comedy great, who’s hosted the Academy Awards broadcast nine times (only Bob Hope hosted more of them, at a whopping 18 times) — and he find himself snugly in the company of other legends of American comedy (Johnny Carson did five, and both Jack Lemmon and Whoopi Goldberg did four), according to DigitalHit.

His movies include some of the best-written comedies of the 1980s and 1990s: “When Harry Met Sally…”, “Running Scared,” “Throw Momma From The Train,” “Analyze This,” to name just a few that hold up over time. And he didn’t stop then, with his role in the “Monsters, Inc.” franchise (which began in 2001) garnering massive, box office wins more recently.

It’s too bad that entertainment journalism has degenerated to such a point that someone like Billy Crystal can’t promote an uplifting, heartwarming story about friendship without an attempted hit job like the NY Post pulled.

Watch the trailer for his “Here Today,” co-starring Tiffany Haddish, which opens today, below:

Update: Shame on me, I should have mentioned Crystal’s work on the classic TV comedy, “Soap,” and the formerly funny, comedy show known as “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), of course.

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