Has society become more or less tolerant of controversial, button-pushing comedy material in the years since the death of stand-up icon Lenny Bruce, who died exactly half a century ago on Wednesday? That’s one of the questions considered in a new documentary called Can We Take a Joke?, which was released in select cinemas July 29 and is also now available to watch on VOD.
Directed by Ted Balaker, and narrated by comedian Christina Pazsitzky, the film finds stand-up comics Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, and Heather McDonald ruminating upon what many regard as society’s increasingly censorious attitude towards our laugh-makers. Other contributors include bestselling writer Jon Ronson, author of last year’s fascinating book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
You can see a clip from Can We Take a Joke? featuring Norton and Jillette, among others, above, and the trailer below.