Kelsey Grammer Says There Are No Jokes From Early ‘Frasier’ That He Couldn’t Make Today

Every gag from ‘Cheers’ and ‘Frasier’ could play to a modern audience, so long as they are familiar with Baroque literature
Kelsey Grammer Says There Are No Jokes From Early ‘Frasier’ That He Couldn’t Make Today

As opposed to certain other sitcom stars who think their 1990s comedy couldn’t survive today’s hyper-sensitive, woke mind virus media landscape, Kelsey Grammer says Dr. Frasier Crane has never cracked a joke in his 40 years on television that wouldn’t fly in the modern era. After all, half his gags dated back to the 16th century anyway.

The easiest way for a comedian whose peak predated the explosion of social media to score some easy publicity is to claim that their old movie, TV show or novelty T-shirt line would never fly in the era of “cancel culture,” as today’s galvanized and fragile youth could never comprehend the boundary-pushing brilliance that was the Seinfeld rickshaw plot line or the “I’m With Stupid” shirt. It’s a tired refrain that never fails to score headlines on Fox News and in the New York Post, and it’s an easy way to rally the conservative side of the culture war around whichever half-assed Pop-Tarts movie the comic in question is peddling on the celebrity interview circuit.

Given Grammer’s alignment solidly on the right end of the political spectrum, it’s refreshing that, when The Hollywood Reporter offered him a Republican layup, asking him of the early years of Frasier Crane during a recent roundtable, “What could you get away with then that you can’t now?,” he was honest and direct in saying that Frasier’s wit, both on his self-titled show and on Cheers, was never about hitting below the belt and it continues to age even better than fine sherry.

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything you couldn’t get away with and you can’t get away with now,” Grammer said of Frasiers earliest appearances and beginning gags. “I always tried to keep the level of the comedy above a certain quality. It was never my thing to go scatological or to diminish anybody. So I’d never really been cursed by, ‘Oh, that was inappropriate.’”

In fact, Grammer could only come up with one poorly-aged punchline from his comedy career, and it didnt come while he was playing his famous erudite radio psychologist — though, to todays TV viewers, the topic of the joke may very well be Frasier-level esoteric. “The only thing I ever felt foolish about was trying to do a James Mason impression on SNL,” explained Grammer, referencing the English actor and old Hollywood star. “It sort of went well, but it was still rather embarrassing. We were doing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with Phil Hartman just going crazy. He just made me giggle.”

Frasier Crane has never, and will never, make a joke in bad taste, but breaking in an SNL sketch is always tacky — looking at you, Ryan Gosling.


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