Rick Alverson is a filmmaker that respects his audience enough to challenge them. With his latest, The Comedy, a potent character study, he has not made an easily digested film – a here’s-a-spoonful-of-sugar film to ease the woes of modern life. Rather, it is a provocation. It demands a headlong look into the ever-widening Great American Disconnect. It is equally uncomfortable, hilarious, maddening and disheartening. There is no safe harbor of neutrality while viewing. The film has prompted walkouts at screenings and incited ongoing debates.
The protagonist, Swanson, played brilliantly by Tim Heidecker, best known from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, is an acrid, abrasive, aging hipster on the precipice of inheriting his father’s wealth. With increasing complacency, he gallivants through his neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn with his like-minded friends, idling away time and the luxury of limitless opportunity. He is obnoxious. He is numb. He is totally desensitized and thus in a state of constant tantrum for connection, bulldozing through boundaries of what is socially acceptable or barely even palatable. LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and comedians Eric Wareheim and Gregg Turkington a.k.a.“Neil Hamburger” round out the irreverent, perfectly unsettling film.
Director, Alverson on his film and its characters: “The group of men at the center of The Comedy seemed an inevitable byproduct of the utopian dream come to fruition, ignorant or oblivious to the precarious state of world affairs, the economic uncertainty of their own country and the stagnation of the culture in which they may live… inherently sad characters, joyful in their bubble, as sympathetic as they are reprehensible…where options and good fortune breed a desensitized indifference and recreational cruelty. They pacify their discontents with strange meta-mock sincerity and irreverence, as though humor itself were dying or dead and had nothing left to do but turn on itself.”
The Comedy will be available via on-demand sources such as iTunes, October 23rd and will be released in theaters on November 9th. The Soundtrack featuring Here We Go Magic, Gayngs, Gardens & Villa, Donnie & Joe Emerson and avant-garde composer William Basinski will be out on vinyl and digitally on November 13th via Jagjaguwar.