Comedy Impact Report 2012: Film - Jay Roach

Jay Roach tackled not one but two high-profile political projects this year, directing WB’s “The Campaign” for the bigscreen and “Game Change” for HBO.

The helmer, who previously launched the “Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents” franchises, says he has always found “good political stories — dramas or comedies” appealing. Which is why he decided to attack one of each this year.

“Game Change,” about the 2008 Republican run for the White House, garnered 2.1 million viewers when it premiered in March, attracting HBO’s biggest TV movie audience in eight years. The political drama went on to earn five Emmys.

Meanwhile, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis’ biting election satire “The Campaign” became the highest-grossing political comedy of all time, earning $103 million worldwide.

Roach says his approach to both genres is “surprisingly similar,” but insists that helming a comedy is harder. “In addition to trying to tell a compelling a story, you are also trying to be funny,” he says. “In drama, you can trust your intuition for the most part to tell you what’s working. In comedy, you often cannot. It’s never funny enough. It makes you crazy. But you do laugh a lot.”

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