WHAT: A new documentary called Can We Take a Joke?, whose premise is that we cannot.
WHO: Director Ted Balaker.
WHY WE CARE: “If you think you have the right to not be offended, either change your parameters of what offends you or … just realize you’re wrong.” So says comedian and author Jim Norton at the top of the trailer for Can We Take a Joke?, more or less summing up the film’s main thrust. After playing at festivals all year, Can We is poised to hit theaters in July and extend the current debate about political correctness. It’s an ongoing conversation that tends to boomerang back every other decade but never really goes away. Some comedians use the exploratory nature of their jobs to reveal hidden truths and expose hypocrisies, but they have to get through a lot of truly tasteless jokes before finding the right way to get their message across. Other comedians just want to trot out their new Caitlin Jenner chunk because social change makes them feel old and obsolete. It’s a fine line. Judging from the trailer, though, this documentary looks at that line from a comedian’s point of view–or at least the comedians unafraid of coming off like Jerry Seinfeld last year. Perhaps next year will bring a response film from the side of first-person essayists who saw a thing they didn’t agree with and got mad.