Magnolia Pictures have released the first trailer for Rick Alverson’s Entertainment, starring Gregg Turkington.
Entertainment is the follow-up to Alverson’s highly divisive sort-of breakout The Comedy, and, like that film, takes an absurdist cult comedian and re-contextualizes his persona within a tragic framework.
The film follows a low-rent stand up – known only as The Comedian – as he tours around some of the American Southwest’s most depressing comedy clubs and dive bars. On stage, The Comedian’s lounge rat alter-ego delivers a stream of intentionally repellent audience insults and off-colour jokes (“Why did God create Domino’s pizza? To punish mankind for it’s complacency in allowing the Holocaust to happen”), enraging as many spectators as he entertains.
What seems to be the major thematic focus here, as it was in The Comedy, is the function of irony in our everyday lives, and how it can be utilized by the embittered and the alienated to distance themselves from emotional pain, in addition to feeling superior to the world whilst avoiding having to take an active stance on anything. This is heavy stuff, but it only works because Alverson’s films also happen to be genuinely hilarious.
The film also stars John C. Reilly, Dean Stockwell, and Tim Heidecker and is set to be released in November.