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BFI Comedy Genius Season




Comedy Genius (22nd October 2018 – 31st January 2019) will be the UK’s greatest ever celebration of film and TV comedy. From boundary-pushing writers and performers who say the unsayable, to silent slapstick heroes of the past and disreputable and anarchic voices of the present, this season will celebrate comic genius with an array of talent taking part throughout the season. Guests will include Jane Fonda, John Landis, Tracey Ullman, Lenny Henry and Jennifer Saunders, while silent star Mabel Normand is given her long-overdue moment in the spotlight. Following on from previous landmark BFI blockbusters including Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, The Genius of Hitchcock and Black Star, Comedy Genius will be a provocative and timely moment to pause and contemplate comedy in contemporary Britain. As we collectively face fundamental questions of identity, social responsibility and nationhood in a post-Brexit and post-#MeToo world, are there now some lines that simply should not be crossed or are the lines more blurred than ever? Is it possible to enjoy un-PC comedy of the past with a clear conscience? And how are a new generation of ’woke’ comedians changing up the game? As arguably the most subjective form of entertainment, comedy has the power to provoke exciting and varied debate – and make us laugh with fart jokes.

Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director said: "In a divided Britain, in a world where we may be uncertain about what we’re allowed to find funny anymore, we need a laugh more than ever. Just seeing Sid James holding a sausage roll or the sight of Jack Benny at the front of a bunch of goose-stepping Nazis in To Be or Not to Be, cheers me up. Whether it’s Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin indulging in a drug-fuelled fantasy of bringing down their sexist boss, Peter Sellers’s maniacal Dr Strangelove, Buster Keaton’s deadpan face, Sharon Horgan’s hilariously frank take on family and relationships, or Tiffany Haddish’s grapefruit tutorial, we think there is enough wisecracking, slapstick, satire, smut and innuendo in our Comedy Genius season for everyone."

Website: www.bfi.org.uk

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