The Young Americans for Liberty, the College Republicans, and the Campus Democrats partnered to screen the film “Can We Take a Joke?”, on Wed April 13th.
The documentary examines the impact that political correctness has had on comedy and satire in the United States. It draws comparisons between the obscenity laws of past decades, and community censorship seen today.
“Our goal is to use the film to promote discussion between the different political organizations on campus, both about the public sphere and in the context of our own lives as college students,” said Garrett Kehr, chair of Young Americans for Liberty.
A major focus of the documentary was the “outrage culture” on college campuses and how it has affected free speech.
The film features many prominent comedians such as Gilbert Gottfried, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Ron Collins, Karith Foster, and Bob Corn-Revere. Many of them refuse to play at college campuses because audiences are too sensitive.
“I liked the provocative language, and how the comedians weren’t afraid to speak their minds,” said Mitchell Mellot, president of College Republicans. “It was also interesting to see what prominent thinkers have to say about free speech.”
It was directed by Ted Balaker, founding partner of Korchula Productions, a media company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.
While the film is not set to be released until the summer, it is being screened early at several universities across the country, including Capital.
After the screening the audience joined in a discussion of some of the key points of the film.
“I think people have a right to be offended, but they should use the tools available to start a reasonable discussion,” said Ethan Wittkorn, sophomore political science major. “But if you’re just going to try and prevent people from saying things you disagree with, that’s a problem.”
Kehr led the audience through a series of questions about the right to free speech and the dangers of censorship.
“The film did a good job of sparking discussion between students with different philosophies, and gave them an opportunity to better understand each other,” said Jason Fugate, treasurer of Campus Democrats.