“The Comedy” is premiering in San Francisco at the Mission’s very own Roxie theater this Friday, November 23rd, and you’re in for a treat: Tim Heidecker will be hosting a Q&A after the screenings on both Friday and Saturday. It is playing at the Roxie until the end of the month.
You probably know Tim Heidecker as one-half of the comedy duo Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Well, if you’re expecting that kind of thing with his new movie, “The Comedy“, be prepared for a lot of brutal darkness.
The film is about Swanson, an aging, Williamsburg-living, PBR-swigging hipster-type on the cusp of inheriting his wealthy father’s estate. In his boredom, disconnection with the real world, and subliminal grief, he and his buddies engage in some truly awful behavior at the expense of a world presenting him with endless options. Hmm entitled, trust-funded, society leeches hiding behind a cloud of irony? We wouldn’t know anything about that around these parts, now would we?
I recently got an opportunity to chat with writer/director Rick Alverson and actor Tim Heidecker about the film’s mixed reception, how scripted dialogue is so passé, experiencing the end of comedy (9/11-unrelated), and about PBR as a cost-cutting production technique.
Mission Mission: I understand some other SF publications declined the interview after seeing the film and that it had the most walk-outs at Sundance. Were you expecting such a polarized reaction?
Rick Alverson: I suppose we knew it was possible. It’s sort of designed in some way and we kind of embraced it. It’s a little confusing from the get-go and maybe provocative because of some of that confusion. But you know, it’s definitely uh… hell, I don’t know.
Tim Heidecker: Yeah, first of all I think the notion of “the most walk outs in Sundance” is a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t know if anyone was standing out the door with a clicker. We had tremendous screenings at Sundance and SXSW and the reaction for the film certainly isn’t unanimously positive, but amongst a certain demographic it’s very positive. It’s a film that appeals to a generation that can dial in to not only the humor that’s in the film, but the underlying subliminal quality that the film has. And frankly, there’s an older establishment out there that’s incapable of embracing some of the themes in the film. But I’ve had plenty of conversations with people that I respect and come to watching films from an open-minded place and nobody that I know has a problem with it and considers it a successful film. So if you’re somehow angered by this film or offended or anything… you’re probably gonna be a person that I don’t want to know.
MM: Yeah, I think it’s very similar to the Tim and Eric show in that there’s a sort of person that will get this and someone who would probably walk out after getting the eyeful on the opening scene. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. I think I was expecting something more Tim and Eric-y but instead I got something that was funny but also incredibly dark.
TH: Yeah, it’s dark.