Vice TV will debut “Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11” on Sept. 8, days before the 20th anniversary of 2001 attacks. The Pulse Films documentary features interviews with entertainers including David Cross, Nathan Lane and Marc Maron about the struggle to re-establish humor’s place in the aftermath of the attacks that day.
The documentary’s title takes its name from the response Gilbert Gottfried received after cracking a joke about the airline attacks shortly after they occurred. He will also appear in the documentary, along with Janeane Garofalo, Matthew Broderick, Aasif Mandvi, Rob Riggle, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Kattan, Lewis Black and Doug Stanhope.
Directed by Nick Fituri Scown and Julie Seabaugh, it explores how stand-up comedians, Broadway performers, late-night hosts and “Saturday Night Live” cast members helped audiences laugh even in the darkest of days.
Dan Baglio, Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford served as executive producers for Pulse Films, with Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner serving as exec producers for Hazy Mills Productions.
“As a guy known for his disregard for political correctness,” says comedian Russell Peters, “I am really happy to be part of this entertaining and introspective dive into the proper time to comment on dramatic events … which from a comic’s point-of-view is rarely ever ‘too soon.'”
Vice TV executive VP and general manager Morgan Hertzan notes that as a native New Yorker living in NYC on 9/11, he “never thought on that day we would be able to laugh about such a profound tragedy,” crediting these comedians with helping to build a bridge back to healing.
Observes Hayes, best known for his acting roles in sitcoms such as “Will & Grace”: “There’s a reason why comedy and tragedy are often paired; it’s because comedy has a healing effect through the most difficult periods of people’s lives and I’m hoping the audience will feel that with ‘Too Soon.'”
In addition to the TV bow, “Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11,” will screen at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Hollywood Boulevard’s TCL Chinese Theatre as part of the Dances With Films Festival.