In an announcement timed to coincide with April Fools’ Day, Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired the North American rights to Ted Balaker’s documentary “Can We Take a Joke?”
The film is narrated by comedienne Christina Pazsitzky and includes interviews with Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Jim Norton and Heather McDonald. Samuel Goldwyn is planning a limited theatrical release in late summer, followed by a wider digital release.
“Can We Take a Joke?” premiered at DOC NYC in November and is in the midst of its festival run. A special sneak peek week will be held at numerous college campuses starting April 13 with the aim to stir discussion about the importance of the open exchange of ideas on campuses.
The week will be hosted by Balaker’s Korchula Productions in conjunction with the on-demand movie programmer Tugg and New Balloon. The event is being organized in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Young Americans for Liberty.
Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said, “We at Samuel Goldwyn Films are outraged that the outrage has gotten this far and are thrilled to work with Ted Balaker on his eye-opening and profound film on how free speech is under siege, not just in the comedic world but in all facets of life.”
Balaker noted that the film is being released in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the death of Lenny Bruce. “In our age of instant outrage and kneejerk censorship, we need Lenny’s influence now more than ever,” he added
“Can We Take a Joke?” is presented by the DKT Liberty Project in association with Reason TV. Producers are Courtney Balaker and Ted Balaker; co-producers are Zach Weissmueller, Steven Andrus and Melanie Miller; and executive producers are Phil Harvey, AC Bushnell and Greg Lukianoff.
The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn and the producers, representative Noor Ahmed of Reder and Feig, and attorney Dean Cheley of Donaldson and Callif on behalf of the filmmakers.