As we previously reported, filmmaker Ted Balaker’s 2015 comedy documentary Can We Take a Joke? was picked up for distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films on April 1st. At the time, Balaker was gearing up to tour the film around a few college campuses, but it was unknown when the film would see any wider distribution. That information became available this week, along with a fresh new trailer for the film.
Can We Take a Joke? takes a look at the outrage-culture that has sprung up around the comedy world, and in mainstream American culture in general, in recent years. “The duty of a comedian,” as Gilbert Gottfried puts it, “is to find out where the line is drawn, and deliberately cross over it.” Nobody feels more strongly about protecting that role than comics themselves. As such, Balaker reached out to various comics to get their opinions on the state of comedy and comedy audiences today, and they did not hold back.
“If you think you have the right not to be offended, either change your parameters of what offends you, or just realize you’re wrong,” comedian Jm Norton says in the trailer’s opening seconds. That statement, unsurprisingly, sets the tone for the rest of the film. Balaker spoke with Gilbert Gottfried, Christina Pazsitzky, Adam Carolla, Penn Jillette, Karith Foster, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald and others, and they all seem to share the same sentiment: American comedy audiences have gotten soft.
Can We Take a Joke? will be released in theaters on July 29th, with a digital release following shortly after on August 2nd. The digital release takes place the day before the 50th anniversary of legendary comedian Lenny Bruce’s death, who was the inspiration for the film.
Check out the trailer below: