tropic thunder

Woke Teens Are Just Learning About Robert Downey Jr. Wearing Blackface In “Tropic Thunder”

The past decade has seen PC culture completely transform the landscape in how people think, create, and react—so much so that many pop-culture milestones now feel like ancient relics from the past. A prime example of this is the 2008 comedy satire film Tropic Thunder, which featured the now-A-list actor Robert Downey Jr. in blackface throughout the movie as a running gag.

The conceit is that the role Downey Jr. portrayed was that of “Kirk Lazarus,” an Australian method actor who went so far as to undergo a controversial “pigmentation alteration” surgery to darken his skin for his portrayal of a black character named Staff Sergeant Lincoln Osiris. Throughout the fake “filming” of the movie-within-the-movie, Lazarus refuses to break character, speaking only in an exaggerated African American dialect.

Cringeworthy? Maybe. However, it’s worth pointing out that screenwriter Etan Cohen created the role as a way of lampooning the ridiculous lengths that some method actors will go to.

Whether or not that made (or makes) it acceptable is a debate for another time, however, a fresh new crop of woke teens—having probably weaned themselves on Ironman and other Marvel films—are just now catching on to the Tropic Thunder character, and they are NOT OKAY with it!

“Woke teenagers discovering Tropic Thunder is my favorite tweet genre,” wrote comedian Vito Gesualdi this week, highlighting some of the funnier examples via screenshot.

As Gesualdi’s tweet began to go viral, others piled on to mock these (mostly) well-meaning teens, who have no idea what it’s like to live in times before cancel culture and social outrage.

Others pointed out that Downey Jr. actually received an Oscar nomination for the role. (Not to mention BAFTA Award and Screen Actors Guild Award noms, as well as a shared Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination alongside Tom Cruise!)

Another pointed out that—by today’s standards—the blackface character was if anything, the least offensive thing about Tropic Thunder.

And god forbid the youths ever go back and watch the earlier seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

With all due respect to young people—there are plenty going on right now in this moment to be outraged at—so maybe their anger could be best directed elsewhere.

More wokeness gone wrong:

Stacey Ritzen

Stacey is an amateur cat hoarder who lives in West Philadelphia. No really, your Fresh Prince joke is super original please let me hear it.