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How Dan Aykroyd Really Feels About 'Cancel Culture'

When it comes to comedy, "Saturday Night Live" alum and "Ghostbusters" movie star Dan Aykroyd doesn't think you have to be offensive to make people laugh — especially in today's world of "cancel culture."

"There is so much in the world to comment on that is outside the realm of offensiveness," explained Aykroyd in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which comes amid public outcries and criticism against comedian Dave Chappelle for jokes he told recently about the transgender community. "As a writer, you can go to other areas and have successful creative endeavors. Scatological humor is fun. It's easy laughs. But there is more intelligent writing that can happen if you stay away from the offensive material that should be rightly canceled for its hurtfulness."

The world of comedy has come under scrutiny in recent weeks following the Chappelle controversy, which stemmed from jokes he made on his most recent Netflix special, "The Closer." The legendary comic was accused of being transphobic, with a number of Netflix employees organizing a walkout after the special aired. Chappelle, meanwhile, claimed on Instagram that he has received widespread support from members of the LGBTQ community and that the backlash he was facing was being conjured up by the media and "corporate interests" (per NPR). 

Speaking to THR ahead of the release of "Ghosbusters: Afterlife," Aykroyd offered up his opinion on whether he believed "cancel culture" was good for comedy.

Other forms of comedy should be utilized today, Aykroyd says

If you were to ask Dan Aykroyd what he thought was funny, chances are you'd get a dad joke or two before he pulled out something dirty or offensive. "There is enough range in humor where you don't have to go scatological and you don't have to go pulling any divisive cards to get a laugh," he told The Hollywood Reporter. 

Comedians nowadays are constantly trying to push the envelope with their jokes and senses of humor, but Aykroyd doesn't think its necessary. He prefers the old school side of things — but even then, you have to be careful about what you say, and he thinks culture has evolved over the decades. "Who can be the subject of an impression today?" Aykroyd asked. "That's an area of discussion. Can I do my James Brown imitation? He was one of my best friends. I do his voice pretty good. But maybe I shouldn't anymore." 

Aykroyd will be making his return to the "Ghostbusters" franchise on Nov. 15 as Ray Stantz in the upcoming "Afterlife" sequel. Filmmaker Jason Reitman, son of original "Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman, helmed the latest installment and produced it with his father. Early reviews have been positive, which has sparked discussions about a possible fourth film.