An exploration of controversial topics in comedy and an examination of recent incidents involving comedians who have crossed the line.
Watch the TEASER TRAILER (without my ugly mug talking about it):
Or the 30-second version, for anyone like me with a short attention span.
You should also read this great article about the project on FirstShowing.net!
And check out my brief interview on the Succotash Comedy Podcast podcast.
NEW! Here's my interview on DJ Grandpa's Crib Crowdfunding podcast!
Also NEW! Here I am on The Worst Show on the Web!
How are boundaries defined in comedy? Is there a line, and if so, when is it okay to cross it? Is it in our nature to make fun of things that make us uncomfortable, topics that might otherwise be considered dire or taboo?
In recent years comedians have faced increased scrutiny over the content of their material, largely due to the ever-present and permanent nature of the information age. Certain comics have been made to apologize for offending members of their audiences, while others have lost jobs due to the dissemination of jokes that were deemed "in poor taste."
The feature documentary "That's Not Funny" will address these issues, events and more via historical analysis, archival footage, and first-hand interviews with comedians, comedy aficionados, and those who would seek to impose a limit to what is considered acceptable for a performer to say on stage or elsewhere. By exploring and discussing this matter with an even hand, we hope to arrive at a better knowledge of why each side feels so passionately about such a divisive topic, and also perhaps a deeper understanding of the function of comedy itself.
We have already conducted interviews with the following participants:
Gariana Abeyta (The Popcorn Mafia, Out of Print)
Paul Cibis (NerdMelt, San Francisco Sketchfest)
Emery Emery (The Aristocrats, Ardent Atheist)
Jackie Kashian (The Dork Forest, Comedy Central Presents)
Kyle Kinane (Funny People, Comedy Central Presents)
Benny Parks & Sam Rodriguez (Super Tuesday News, Early Late Night with Raf)
Greg Proops (Whose Line is it Anyway?, The Smartest Man in the World)
Paul Provenza (The Aristocrats, ¡Satiristas!)
And this is just the very top of our WISH LIST of further interviewees (some of whom I have contact information for already):
Michael Richards / Daniel Tosh / Tracy Morgan
Andrew "Dice" Clay
Monty Python (all surviving members)
The Onion writing staff
Trey Parker & Matt Stone
Plus we plan to track down many, many more comics, comedy writers, family members of deceased legends (Kelly Carlin, Rain Pryor, etc.), and comedy journalists/historians. We also intend to interview people on the other side of this debate: anyone who has been vocal about being offended or outraged by a joke, and those who have demanded or received an apology from a comedian. Our goal is to understand why.
Director / Producer / Editor - Mike Celestino (The Last Days of Cinerama)
Producer / Editor / Assistant Director - Robert Garren (The Last Days of Cinerama)
Director of Photography - Alex Simon (Out of Print)
Consulting Producers - Brent Celmins and Paul Cibis
Original Score - James M. Garren (The Last Days of Cinerama)
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Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our current plan is to conduct interviews throughout the remainder of 2013, with the hope of having a rough cut of the feature assembled by the end of the year. The movie will ideally include footage from 75-100 interviews, and though most comedians tend to live in Los Angeles, there are many in New York and even London to whom we would like to reach out as well.
Another major hurdle will be clearing the rights to the archival footage we want to include in the final edit, but we are currently investigating possible solutions to that problem.
Mostly we are looking forward to getting back out there and continuing to talk comedy with comedians in the interest of getting this documentary made. A contribution of whatever you can afford can help make that happen.
Travel expenses, equipment rentals, and crew fees for 75+ interviews, location rentals, production and editing equipment for the feature, rights clearances of the many pieces of archival footage we would like to use, fees for professional sound mixing and color correction, a fee for our score composer, an animator's fee for our opening title sequence, and a fee for a (potentially-notable) indie-rock band to compose and record a theme song. It adds up quickly.
Mike Celestino grew up loving movies and comedy on the mean streets of suburban Long Island, NY. He attended the University of Southern California as a creative writing major and took several film production classes at Los Angeles City College. He has performed stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy on both coasts, and for the last five years or so he has worked as a film/video projectionist at one of Hollywood's most prestigious and reknown movie theaters. With his creative partner Robert Garren, he has co-directed a number of music videos and the short documentary "The Last Days of Cinerama". "That's Not Funny" will be his first feature as a director.
They probably are! I only listed the top 15 or so entries off a list that is almost 200 names long, and growing. However, if you know of a comic or anyone else who would be perfect for this movie that I probably haven't thought of yet, please feel free to let me know.
I agree! The trailer feels one-sided. Rest assured, the feature will not be.
The current trailer was cut together with footage from the few comedians and comedy writers that we had access to immediately after production began. At the time, we didn't have the resources to reach out to anybody who could lend insight to the other side of this heated debate. I've already made a short list of potentials, but if you can recommend anyone along those lines who would be interested in discussing this topic with us and having their voice heard, please let me know.