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Comedy, The

Rick Alverson / US, 2012 / 95 min.

A well-off ‘thirty something’ hipster in New York spends his days cracking sick jokes, swilling beer and generally misbehaving. The Comedy is both a parody on the bum existence of the slacker and a search for meaning. Part of Looking for America: Slackers.

Poster the comedy

He”s waiting for an inheritance, hangs around bored in the hip New York Williamsburg neighbourhood where he tries to seduce girls by throwing coarse offensive jokes at them and gets through his days in a nihilistic beer-swilling haze. Swanson is the name of this unpleasant character, who nevertheless manages to evoke a measure of sympathy thanks to the brilliant performance of American underground comedian Tim Heidecker. It”s an absolute feat considering Swanson”s own blatant disinterest in his surroundings.

With The Comedy, director Rick Alverson (Entertainment, also featured in Looking for America) produced an intelligent, sardonic and hardly flattering portrait of a generation of men who haven”t a clue what to do with themselves and their lives. They are called “man-boys”, forever young in a rapidly ageing body, men who see their chances of a meaningful life fast evaporating in their home base New York. The generation of slackers first portrayed by Richard Linklater as a more counter-cultural trend in the early 1990s is destined to float in a sea of irony and self-doubt.

The Comedy was previously screened at the IFFR, but was not released in theatres in the Netherlands. Director Rick Alverson will be present at the screening on 3 November for a Q&A.

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Rick Alverson

Production year




Original title

Comedy, The


95 min.



Part of

Looking for America

This autumn Eye is taking an inquisitive look at the United States. How does the age-old ideal of a ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ relate to the difficult reality of today?

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