×

‘Can We Take a Joke?’ Documentary Set for Summer Release

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content