Dan Aykroyd is a famous Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, producer, and musician, best known for his time as an original cast member on Saturday Night Live and for roles in classic comedy films like The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters.
While his talent and success in the entertainment industry is undisputed, Aykroyd has faced some criticism and dislike from certain groups over the years.
Eccentric Personality and Interests Can Be Polarizing
One of the most common reasons cited for disliking Dan Aykroyd is his eccentric and intense personality. He has very strong, some would say obsessive, interests in topics like parapsychology, conspiracy theories, law enforcement (he has an honorary Police Chief title), and UFOs.
This type of passionate intensity for the strange and unconventional can be off-putting or confusing for some. His zeal comes across as weird or crazy to more straight-laced personalities. While Aykroyd sees his interests as intellectual and righteous pursuits of truth, others just see the rantings of an odd, fanatical mind.
Perceived Arrogance and Preachiness
Another trait of Aykroyd’s that rubs some people the wrong way is his occasionally superior, arrogant manner. This often comes through when he is discussing his areas of interest and expertise, like ghosts, spies, or liquor brands.
Some feel he talks down to others while holding his own niche obsessions up on a pretentious pedestal. His seriousness and self-importance regarding even silly topics can also come across as arrogant or dismissive of others’ perspectives.
Basically, he seems to lack self-awareness or humility regarding how strange his passion projects might seem to the average person.
Much Better as Part of an Ensemble
While Dan Aykroyd clearly has talent as a writer and conceptual thinker, some believe he works much better as part of a creative team rather than solo. His ideas run wild without other voices to ground them in relatability.
Most of his popular successful acting roles have been as part of a group, whether on SNL or in films packed with other stars like The Blues Brothers and the Ghostbusters crew. These ensemble pieces allowed Aykroyd’s eccentricities and out-there sensibilities to be balanced out, resulting in entertainment that worked for mainstream audiences.
On his own, his unfiltered perspectives are just too strange or narrow to resonate with most. So those who feel his solo work fails blame his individual personality quirks for the disconnect.
|Other Key Participants
|Saturday Night Live
|John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray
|The Blues Brothers
|John Belushi, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cab Calloway
|Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis
|Nothing But Trouble
|Demi Moore, John Candy, Digital Underground
Business Failures Lose People Money
Dan Aykroyd is a sharply intelligent man with a head full of ideas, but he doesn’t always choose winning concepts when venturing into business opportunities outside showbiz. His investments and attempts to be an entrepreneur have landed with loud thuds more often than not.
For example, after finding vodka success with his Crystal Head brand, he attempted to also launch diet flavored vodkas called Dr. Waska’s and Rock Vodka. Both failed quickly in an already crowded low-calorie spirit market.
His ambition as a businessman has led to things like starting a research institute dedicated to paranormal scientific study or helping open scattered scattered House of Blues music venues. Unfortunately, money put into these types of passion projects is rarely recouped, frustrating investors.
So for those who’ve lost money on Aykroyd’s enthusiasms or feel his poor track record reflects badly on his judgement overall, it definitely contributes to disliking him. Nobody likes putting their cash behind someone’s far-fetched fancies and seeing the investment vanish.
Exploiting or Trivializing Serious Issues?
As mentioned earlier, Dan Aykroyd has intense interests in topics like ghosts, aliens, spies, law enforcement, and more. Because of his celebrity and visibility, he often leverages those interests into business opportunities within those spheres.
For example, he started a paranormal research think tank called the American College of the Unaware. He also for many years hosted a pseudo-science documentary show called “Out There” examining UFOs, ghosts, cryptoids and more. Additionally, he produced and starred in movies like Dragnet and Loose Cannons exploiting police drama cliches.
To fans of wild theories, the paranormal, or crime procedural plots, his approaches are entertaining. But some dislike that his entertainment offerings trivialize complex or serious issues. A ghost hunting reality show or Blues Brothers police car pile-up inserts frivolity and fantasy into weighty topics where people hold deep beliefs or where dangerous misinformation spreads.
So while Aykroyd considers his somewhat wacky takes on these subjects to be “edutainment”, others see crass, celebrity-fueled exploitation that does more harm than good in how people understand the world.
Remains a Comedic Genius With Lasting Pop Culture Relevance
While Dan Aykroyd’s uniquely offbeat personality does not appeal to everyone – for some of the reasons covered above – his brilliance and influence as a comedy innovator remains undisputed despite criticisms.
The sheer versatility he displayed in embodying diverse, vivid characters from sniveling villainous types to pretentious aristocrats made him stand out among the SNL greats. From killer bees to cooking shows to President Carter defending his lustful thoughts, Aykroyd disappeared into every oddball role.
His insightful, analytical way of deconstructing humor also proved groundbreaking in the mechanics of sketch comedy writing and improvisation. He helped refine an outside-the-box collaborative process of joke development fueled by tapping into the unconscious connections between concepts that seemed wildly unrelated.
Combine that with an endless fountain of crazy ideas springing from his strange obsessions and interests and Aykroyd proved instrumental in taking comedy to new surreal heights in his SNL and movie years. Even at his nuttiest, glimpses of genius peek through.
|Iconic Aykroyd SNL Characters
|Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute
|E. Buzz Miller
|Smug late night host
|Kitchen disasters played straight
Much of Aykroyd’s best work directly shaped some of the most iconic comedies of the modern era despite being off-putting as an individual to some.
Dan Aykroyd is undoubtedly an eccentric and divisive public figure. His intense passions and unusual interests, combined with sometimes arrogant and oblivious behavior, rub plenty of people the wrong way.
However, there is no denying his stunning creative gifts, especially when collaborating as part of a stellar ensemble. His vivid imagination and fearless, absurd innovation took comedy to new heights and directly shaped some of the most classic and clever comedy films ever made.
Aykroyd stands as an example of just how fine the line between mad genius and simply maddening can be with certain uncompromising artists. Perhaps we must learn to separate an entertainer’s output from their personality.
In Aykroyd’s case, that is likely the only way to continue enjoying the fruits of his vivid mind without getting irritated by his idiosyncrasies.
Audiences will probably remain split between loving his daring, anarchic creative spirit or hating his pretentious kookiness.
But the skits, characters, quotable lines, and comedic set-pieces he helped birth will undoubtedly live forever as pop culture titans. His legacy there is set, even if many still ask “what’s with that guy?”
What are Dan Aykroyd’s most famous movies?
Dan Aykroyd starred in several of the most acclaimed and successful comedies of the 1970s and 80s. These include hit films like The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Trading Places, 1941, Spies Like Us, and Neighbors.
Is Dan Aykroyd well-liked as a person?
He has many devoted fans who enjoy his eccentricities. But his intense, flashy personality also rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Some see his arrogance and self-absorption as outweighing his brilliance.
What was Dan Aykroyd’s contribution to Saturday Night Live?
As an original cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, Aykroyd created several iconic recurring characters. He also made major contributions behind the scenes in developing groundbreaking new approaches to sketch comedy and improv.
Why did Dan Aykroyd’s business ventures often fail?
Aykroyd’s businesses and investments frequently centered around his niche personal interests rather than viable models. This led to money-losing failures in areas like paranormal research groups, music venues, niche vodka brands, and more.
Does Dan Aykroyd take fringe topics seriously?
Aykroyd has passionate interests in eclectic fringe or conspiracy theory subject matter. He has invested significantly in various research foundations and entertainment media dedicated to studying and promoting paranormal phenomena and other unconventional topics. Some feel he takes the eccentric topics too seriously or exploits them.