What We Saw at the "Can We Take a Joke?" Premiere

'Can We Take a Joke?' premiered at the film festival Doc NYC. Reason TV was at a pre-party being held at the Comedy Cellar's Village Underground


Originally published on Nov 16, 2015

The documentary feature Can We Take a Joke? premiered at the film festival Doc NYC this Friday, and Reason TV was on the scene at a pre-party being held at the Comedy Cellar's Village Undergound, where filmmakers, comedians, and free speech advocates were eager to sound off about free speech and comedy following a week of high-profile anti-speech protests on college campuses like Yale and Mizzou.

"Maybe the events of this week signal that we're reaching peak crazy and that people are going to say, 'Whoa, this is a little too nutty,'" says director Ted Balaker. "But on the other hand, the outrage mob could just keep plowing ahead."

Approximately 3 minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein. Edited by Zach Weissmueller. Music by Latche Swing.

Follow @canwetakeajoke on Twitter or Facebook to learn more about the film and when and where you might see it. 

NEXT: How the New York Times Botched its Exposé of Nail Salons

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  1. Peak derp is a myth

    1. Yep. The free market will always find new sources of derp, because anything can be used as a source of derp if the demand is high enough. And with the government distortions, which maintain an artificially high rate of interest in derp, investment in new forms of derp is economically inevitable.

    2. True peak derp is infinitely recursive, so while each instance of peak derp does in fact achieve higher levels of derp than all derp that came before it, the peak will instantly be summited by derpas, who sacrifice their brains upon it in the hope that one day derp will kiss the sun. And probably scold it for making the sky only one color.

      1. Derp is actually a fractal space with semi-repeatable structure at all scales of resolution.

        If D is the set of all Derp and S is a subset of Derp, then f(S) = S, f represents a contraction mapping on D. So the resulting Derp fractal is the attactor S. There are un-countably many S’s In D. One of them is the Derp generated by the Koch Bros resulting in the Von Koch Snowflake aptly named because the special little snow flakes display infinite but repeating Derp structure when confronted by the Kochtapuss.

        1. Derp is uncountably infinite.

          Cantor would have gone insane even sooner had he had to wrestle with defining derp.

      2. Derpas. I love it. I am totally stealing that.

        “Why were you offended by such an innocuous thing?”

        “Because it’s there.”

    1. Seems like a lot of people have a lot of time

      1. You should check out http://www.superbad.com

        its been expanding since 1999. it goes on and on and on and on

        1. It always makes me happy to check zombo.com and see that it still exists. The Internet will be a broken shell the day that goes offline.

          1. WTF are these I can’t even

            1. “WTF are these I can’t even”

              HTML “pop-art”?

              There are just some people who see the web as one big wall to graffitti-bomb. The superbad thing i mentioned above started as a guy’s college art-project. Now its got like 1000s of pages, all of which are still like in 1990s-era web-design conception. clicking randomly through it is different every time you do it.

          2. I used to share that all the time.

            Zombo.com where all your dreams come true. =)

        2. That has nothing to do with the k-tel compilation Super Bad.

          1. That is the awesomest thing I’ll see today.

        3. Thanks – my love for the internet is rekindled.

  2. “Maybe the events of this week signal that we’re reaching peak crazy and that people are going to say, ‘Whoa, this is a little too nutty,'” says director Ted Balaker. “But on the other hand, the outrage mob could just keep plowing ahead.”

    I know what outcome I’m putting my money on.

    1. There’s gotta be a way to make money from this. Somebody please start an Intrade-like website for predicting the new “in” form of derp. I see that derptrade.com is available.

      1. I’ll buy some “Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism” stock, as there seems to be no ceiling on the amount of sellers.

  3. It’s like the speed of light. Theoretically, you cannot reach peak derp. However, we keep accelerating close to it. What real difference is there between 99.999% peak derp and peak derp? I don’t think you’re gonna notice the difference and right now we’re probably at 70% peak derp.

    Anyone else notice that there is a bug in the H&R site that causes all the videos on all articles to display the same preview image?

    1. Anyone else notice that there is a bug in the H&R site that causes all the videos on all articles to display the same preview image?

      Yeah, I see something similar.

    2. What real difference is there between 99.999% peak derp and peak derp?

      Well, if it’s anything like the speed of light, the closer you get the closer you get to infinite mass stupid.

      1. Yeah, I was going to say it is an infinite difference. There is no peak derp.

        1. Yes, peak Derp exists. If they say, “2+2=4”, it’s equal Derp as “2+2=15.6”. Flat wrong is flat wrong.

          1. Well, derp doesn’t really encompass obviously factual inaccuracy like that. Just think of it as a kind of “stupid” and you’ll see that there’s no limit to it.

          2. Clearly, you’re too sensible. You don’t understand the power of the derp.

            What about “2 + 2 = blue”?

            Or “2 + 2 = you’re wrong”?

            Or “2 + 2 = your mom”?

            There is no peak derp.

            1. Hey, leave blue out of this.

      2. I like “infinite mass stupid”. It has a ring.

    3. Anyone else notice that there is a bug in the H&R site that causes all the videos on all articles to display the same preview image?

      I’ve had this problem for a couple months now.

  4. Sadly we are a long way from “peak crazy” this shit at the college level is sane compared to what has rolled down to the middle and elementary levels of schools/indoctrination camps. But what do you expect, the wackos have been peddling this shit since the Bolshevik revolution and have over time gained control of the media and education.This is just the beginning.

  5. I battle words with chainsaws and tears.

    1. Try Visine

  6. How dare you people have opinions. That is damaging and unsafe. We all need to have “ourpinions” that way there is no conflict and no one is left out.

    Don’t worry if you don’t know what ourpinions are on any given matter, there will be classes, meetings and rallies that you are required to attend. You’ll learn.

  7. Pshaw, here’s some *courageous* comedy:

    “Have you ever noticed that the program SouthPark is over-hyped? It started with some amusing ideas, then degenerated into a constant snooze-fest on the order of Saturday Night Live, only with more coprophilia. They’re so sermonizing and judgmental that Cotton Mather would be like, “chill out, dudes, you’ll give yourselves aneurisms.””

    “And what’s with all this silliness about Star Wars? Maybe they had a couple good episodes exploring the intricacies of the battles of the Trade Federation and the Clone Wars, but for the rest, you might as well stay home and use the ticket price to make dollar-bill paper airplanes and throw them into the fire. And that guy with the pointy ears is really annoying, why does everything have to be about logic? But at least that guy Abramson is probably going to make a decent movie out of it.”

  8. http://www.cnn.com/videos/poli…..sot-nr.cnn

    Is anyone buying that Trump is Hitler!!!1!!?

    1. Triteler?

    2. My understanding, based on the bipartisan media consensus, is that Trump is FAR WORSE than Hitler.

      When History and culture repeat, a Donald Trump simulacra will represent EVIL when a lava rock of superior power and intelligence pits it against the combined forces of Kirk, Spock, Abraham Lincoln and some Vulcan peace-creep who’s name escapes my failing memory

      1. Sounds like hard science. We should all be worried.

    3. Yeah, I’ll go there. He’s uniting a large portion of the unthinking population around the irrational fear that certain groups of people are directly responsible for anything negative that happens. He’s given the stupid, scapegoats to focus their xenophobia at in order to gain political power. This is cookiecutter Hitler. Trump is fucking dangerous.

      1. Let me know when when the railway union workers start contributing to him

      2. He’s uniting a large portion of the unthinking population around the irrational fear that certain groups of people are directly responsible for anything negative that happens.

        You’ve just described every politician since the beginning of time.

        1. It’s OK if they’re card-carrying members of the politicians’ guild.

        2. He wants databases of Muslims. Maybe he could get them some stylish armbands?

          1. He wants databases of Muslims.

            Romney has binders of Muslims.

      3. He’s given the stupid, scapegoats to focus their xenophobia at in order to gain political power. This is cookiecutter Hitler.

        Careful there. You don’t want to be seen as a PANTS-SHITTER.

        1. I fear Donald Trump a whole shitload more than terrorists.

          1. I fear Donald Trump a whole lot less than the GOP Establishment.

            1. Yeah but that’s because you’re incredibly daft.

            2. What is it you fear the GOP establishment will do?

              Maintain the status quo?

              1. Maintain the sustainability of statism.

                1. Versus Trump, who will massively deepen it.

      4. He’s Hugo Chavez rather than Hitler. Which is still really bad.

        1. He’s neither shitbag

    4. Hitler was tragedy, Trump is farce.

  9. What we need is a TV show called Take this Joke and Shove It, inspired by the Apollo Theater and the Roman Coliseum.

    The seating is open admission, but the producers secretly select a portion of the audience, unknown even to themselves, to be critics. Everyone in the audience has a button to register approval or disapproval of a comedian’s act, but only the designated critics’ buttons are hooked up to a winch which wither lowers the comedian into, or pulls him out of, a woodchipper.

    The comedian never knows what will set off the designated critics. One day the critics will be a group of feminists, the next day a bunch of American nationalists, the day after that craft beer fanciers. When they hear a joke that really pisses them off, even while the rest of the audience is laughing, the designated critics will be lowering the performer into the woodchipper. Only then will they learn that it was *their* votes which spelled life and death for the performer.

    Wow, that is one of the sickest ideas I’ve ever come up with, I should really be proud of myself.

    1. Take this Joke and Shove Chip It


  10. I have come to the conclusion that anyone born by my junior year of high school to the present day is officially a “millenial”. They’re the longest generation in history.

    1. People keep calling me a millenial but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get into video games.

      1. Robby’s Twitter identifies KM-W as a “millenial”. I find that hard to believe unless she entered Yale at 14.

        1. You never know. Maybe she was just really really smart. So smart, she could quantum leap and help a retard self discover herself. Fiction is a wonderful thing.

      2. Have you tried the Sega Dreamcast?

        1. Sure have used to have Marvel vs Capcom battles. The new stuff is too time consuming.

          1. The new stuff is too time consuming.

            So find something less time-consuming. I don’t many big-name titles myself. There are lots of great games coming out all the time for every taste.

      3. I really wanted to play Fallout but it took me almost an hour to kill the ant then I couldn’t find the doorknob…

        1. I thought I was going to have all sorts of adventures in a charmingly retro post-apocalyptic world but all that happened is I got trapped in a room with a dead ant.

          1. Maybe games are getting too realistic?

            1. I think he’s confusing his life in the retirement home with video games.

  11. Any smokers out there thinking about making the switch to vape, do it. I would go with the Aspire starter kit.


    1. I’m thinking about the switch but I just want something simple like Blu. Not everyone wants to tinker with a freakin’ chemistry set.

      1. I wouldn’t recommend Blu. About the only thin going for it is that it’s easier to find cartridges and what-not but the ecigs themselves are pretty chintzy.

      2. No I gotcha on that one and I was the same way. The difference is that the Blu’s won’t cut it on the long term. They don’t deliver as much of a throat hit and smoke production as a regular cigarette. I switched and I have cut down significantly. It’s not as much work as it looks like from the outside. Its not that difficult and its worth it. Try the Blu disposables or rechargeable’s for sure. I can shoot you a couple links to things I’ve tried that have worked just hit me up. I’ve been smoking for approaching 20 years so I get all the concerns.

        1. smoke production

          Haha I saw some guy the other day smoking one of these mini-hookah looking things and the clouds of smoke swirling around his head were comical. Couldn’t even see him.

          1. WTF is a mini hookah. send me a link im curious

            1. Just a little joke on what the rig in your link resembles to me.

          2. how long have you been smoking? whats your brand?

            1. About 20 years – usually Marlboro medium or light.

          3. Do you get affirmative consent before you wrap your lips around it?

      3. Blu is shit. Won’t give you that swift kick in the lungs you’ll need for a replacement.

    2. I started with an aspire after realizing how bad disposable e cigs were. Am using a Kamry 20 box thing which is nice because you can swap tanks in and out easily.

      I’d say, while not bad, the Aspire is not amazing and if you plan to vape as alternative to smoking you may as well spend some money and get a good box or drip.

  12. Is there a chance – however small – that the taste for crude, “edgy” humor is waning out of sheer boredom and the desire for something new?

    1. I don’t think so at all. Some of the best comics are clean (Brian Reagan). I think the humor just has to be funny and resonate with the audience. Crude humor is always going to be funny if they are pushing the boundaries.

  13. Well, it seems the Mizzou football players didn’t get their safe spaces from Tennessee, poor guys…

    1. I might not have the internet tonight.

      1. ‘Suppose you noticed there might be a QB available soon, but still some problems with his eligibility (but not is tats; he’s tatted up as well as can be).

      2. And does McCaffrey cause intertubze blackouts?

  14. Least bad Democrat currently serving in Congress?

    Not sure but she looks nice on a surf board and is shining a light on the American arming of ISIS.

  15. Some people ask me, “what is it like working as a cook ?”

    I tel them.

    Imagine you have to deal with, on a dialy basis a “Race” of people called “Customers”

    And you are extremely Racist.

    1. Why are people who work in restaurants the most pathetically whiny, self-absorbed bunch outside of politics?

      My entire life I’ve heard waiters bitching about customers, things done to people’s food by spiteful cooks, etc. I once dated a chick who told me being a waitress was the hardest job there is, bar none. Every other profession, people seem to mostly just suck it up and do their jobs–sure there are probably whiners among them, but they’re not such a vocal subset. I can’t recall a single Dirty Jobs episode where he meets someone with an attitude about what they have to do.

      My theory is because it’s many people’s first job, they don’t realize that everyone everywhere has to deal with shitty bosses, demanding customers, etc., not just them.

      1. Any job where you have to deal non-stop with the general public is a nightmare.

        1. Sure, but you never hear about sales people, store clerks, nurses, help desk people, etc etc doing the equivalent of spitting in someone’s food, or even complaining much.

  16. Worth revisiting – John Wayne on Liberals:


    1. I love the Duke. Sounds more like a libertarian than a right-wing radical.

    2. I like Mr. Wayne. IMO he was commenting on Integrity, not being Liberal.

      1. * instead of being Liberal

    3. John Wayne played an anti-communist. The left could never forgive him for that alone.

      1. Statism from both the “left” and the “Right” never had Integrity. That’s why they could never forgive a man like Mr. Wayne.

  17. OT: Least surprising surprise ever: “Peter Jackson has admitted he began filming the trilogy without proper preparation, often shooting without storyboards and completed scripts and “making it up as I went along”.”

    “”Because Guillermo Del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn’t wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie, which was different to what he was doing,” said Jackson. “It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible, I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all.

    “You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot,” he continued. “I spent most of The Hobbit feeling like I was not on top of it?even from a script point of view Fran (Walsh), Philippa (Boyens) and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high pressure situation.””


    Quite happy that I never say BoTFA which I heard was The Worst of the series, which is remarkable because TDoS was pretty damn bad.

    1. Hey, toxic! You got your ass handed to you on the ‘I luv war in the ME’ thread! Get your sorry ass over there and offer some more pathetic excuses.


        The entire thread is sophist horseshit and strawmen from stupid assholes like you that can’t lay a finger on me. Get reckt you fucktard.

        It’s incredibly generous on my part to even converse with a geriatric peon like you. I went over that last thread. I left you and FDA and the rest choking on my dick.

        1. ….and another weak has passed. You know what that means, don’t you. Time to change that nutrient fluid. You are floating in feces again.

          1. Correction: technically it’s not feces, since you don’t have a butthole. I guess it’s glial cell effluvia, but no less damaging to rational thought.

      2. Yeah, your lies about my actual views and thoughts totally handed my ass to me. Frankie’s amazing insights “Be not afraid” and “ISIS exists because we can’t kill all the terrorists” were also powerful. And by ‘powerful’ I mean ‘vapid and banal’.

        1. Cytotoxic|11.22.15 @ 12:46AM|#
          “Yeah, your lies about my actual views and thoughts totally handed my ass to me. Frankie’s amazing insights “Be not afraid” and “ISIS exists because we can’t kill all the terrorists” were also powerful. And by ‘powerful’ I mean ‘vapid and banal’.”
          Shitbag, you once again had your ass handed to you. Go back over there and explain how you ignorant claims are other than bullshit.
          I know your mommy said you were smart; she lied. You’re a pathetic piece of simplistic thinking.
          Oh, and fuck off.

          1. “Shitbag, you once again had your ass handed to you.”

            Tell yourself that as many times as you like. Do it while changing your depends. Maybe it’ll make you less cranky.

        2. “ISIS exists because we can’t kill all the terrorists”

          No one said that once, you fucking retard.

          ISIS exists, because idiots, like you, created them with your ignorant, irrational policies. The Iraq War CREATED ISIS. PERIOD!

          Terrorists retain power only because cowardly pussies, such as yourself, grant them said power by shitting your pants over a one in 20,000,000 chance of being killed by a terrorist. Terrorism doesn’t work unless there are cowardly pants-shitters.

          The WoT has lasted 14+ fucking years because it’s impossible to kill the terrorists faster than you create them.

          YOU, and cowardly pussies like you, are the reason we’ve been at war for over 1/5 of a lifetime without anything to show for it. Something, something Einstein and insanity…

          1. Here is a copy-paste of the thread from before:

            Francisco d’Anconia|11.21.15 @ 4:39PM|#

            [Cytotoxic] ISIS only became strong in the chaos of Syria’s civil war.

            Who do you think were were fighting in Iraq between 04 and 07? They were severely weakened during the Anbar Awakening only to resurface in 10 AFTER losing 80% of its leadership. You know why? Because you can never kill all the terrorists. Despite 6 years of trying.

            So that’s EXACTLY what you said. Maybe you just have shitty communication skills. You should do something about that that doesn’t involve pretending that I am the problem.

            “The Iraq War CREATED ISIS. PERIOD!”

            I’ve already explained why this is grossly misleading and inaccurate. Almost all of the jihadists who joined ISIS in Syria-which is where ISIS got powerful-could have just joined any other terror organization there. Like Nusra.

            1. “Terrorists retain power only because cowardly pussies, such as yourself, grant them said power by shitting your pants over a one in 20,000,000 chance of being killed by a terrorist. Terrorism doesn’t work unless there are cowardly pants-shitters.”

              I guess not curtailing civil liberties AND taking action to reduce chances of a terror attack is just a concept beyond your vast mental powers. Also, if you are one of the cartoonists specifically targeted by these people then that figure you provided is not helpful. When you’re nearly first in line the length of the line isn’t going to help you a lot.

              Just stop. You and your little helper are hopelessly outclassed by my knowledge and reasoning ability. Watching you ‘debate’ me is like a watching a little kid try to demonstrate how bad ass he is with pretend karate.

              1. Just keep repeating how smart you think you are. Maybe it’ll come true one day. I stopped arguing with you because you are so amazingly dense you have no idea when you’re looking like an idiot. I used to think Tony was the most self-unaware person on the board but I’ve changed my mind. I actually once or twice have seen him show the slightest trace of humility and even admit that the other side has a point. I’ve yet to see you do anything but act like you’re about fifteen years old.

            2. Reading comprehension not your forte, is it pussy?

  18. Louisiana Elects Democrat Governor

    Not surprising after the Bobby Jindal debacle.

    1. Vitter, despite his very good voting record, lost because he got caught in the whore house. Simple as that.

      Most people here take personal morals more seriously than political philosophy. Edwards has been a solid supporter of Obumbles from day one, but no matter. David can’t keep his pants zipped.


  19. Can this guy see that the world exists beyond the Mediterranean?

    “Pope Francis calls Christmas festivities “a charade””
    “In a mass Thursday, Pope Francis called Christmas celebrations this year “a charade” because so many nations wage violence, according to media reports.
    Speaking at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, the head of the Catholic Church said God and Jesus were weeping “because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred, the way of enmities,” Vatican news reported.
    “Christmas is approaching. There will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes… it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war,” he said,”

    Uh, Frank, war is pretty much limited by comparison to history. Would you like an Amazon membership to some history books?

    1. Meh, this one I relatively don’t mind. His economic stuff is bullshit, but this I don’t mind.

      All human life is sacred to the Catholic Church. And in general across Christian denominations outside of a few frigney denominations. War can be considered just, but the human life lost and destruction are still tragic. Also, Catholic Just War theory is pretty well developed, and most wars fought today wouldn’t be just by Catholic standards.

      I think calling out the tendency to wage war is solid one because war is hell. It should be avoided if possible.

      And yeah, it would be nice if the Pope had the authority to convey that message to the powers of the middle east, but what is he supposed to do? He’s the leader of a Christian denomination- the Muslims who would listen to him and respect him are almost definitionally not the most radical ones.

  20. I think that there should be a “veteran’s council”, let’s say 12 people chosen by the VFW, who have to approve every foreign military adventure requested by the Commander in Chief – otherwise the Pentagon is restrained from acting. Each of these members have to have served a total of one year in actual combat and received obvious wounds – preferably including amputation. If we are going to send our men into harm’s way there should be some input from people who know the real cost involved.

    1. Limiting it to VFW might be a little narrow, I’d include the American Legion and Disabled American Vets, probably Wounded Warriors too (keep things current). Those dinosaurs in Congress need a reminder what’s what.

      OTOH, we could also say let the active vets/reservists in Congress each get a set amount of time to speak as well – https://veterans.house.gov/veterans-congress -114th-congress

      Frankly these guys all need to be holding the VA’s feet to the fire on a weekly basis (I’m all for VFW and other orgs getting oversight of VA facilities, etc).

      (what’s the recommended fix for long links here?)

      1. Being able to speak in front of Congress is pretty weak sauce. I would like to see them have control – a yeah or nay vote – over anything the Pentagon initiates on foreign soil where rounds will be going both directions.

        VFW, DAV, WW – any group or groups which can reasonably represent veterans wounded in combat would be a great pool to draw from. I think they would be a great balance between willingness to defend our nation and weighing the risks to those who will be doing the fighting.

      2. (what’s the recommended fix for long links here?)

        Install reasonable for Chrome or (I forget the name) for Firefox and use the “link” functionality to create the link for you.

        Or you can type the required HTML yourself – google HTML ‘a’ tag.

        1. “fascr” for Firefox

    2. And this would curtail the modern trend of wars by drone how?
      The human cost of war is of course bad, but historically speaking its the lightest its ever been (in part due to unmanned systems). We should choose whether or not to go to war not due to estimated casualties, but based on compelling national interest, defined objectives and a clear end state.

    3. I think you’ll find veterans aren’t as anti-war as you might think. As a whole I would say that are more for it then the general population.

      I remember after many years of meeting Vietnam vets that my experience didn’t match what I had been taught about the anti-war, broken down, vet stereotype of Hollywood. And I think that’s generally true today as well, probably more so since it’s all volunteer now.

  21. I have no delusions that this would lead to a future with no wars. Nor would it fix everything that is wrong with how military force is applied in every case.

    What I think this would do would be to introduce a check on the number of mis-applications where the military is sent in with unrealistic objectives or for causes which the US doesn’t need to get involved in.

    In my first enlistment (’76 – ’80) i served with a lot of Vietnam vets and in my current Reserve unit most people are Iraq or A-stan vets. So I believe I know a bit about how veterans would think in the scenario I am proposing.

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