When It’s Not Funny

Let me start by saying that my sense of humor has few limitations. I think we can, and should find laughter wherever possible. Life can be too serious so I allow people to joke about a wide range of topics and I usually don’t care about political correctness. I think laughing at ourselves is a good thing and helps us really appreciate and understand humor, which in turn makes our lives more fun.
But I have limitations. I don’t think there’s anything funny about tragedy or sickness. While I understand the healing power of laughter and how humor helps us cope with our illnesses, that’s a personal choice between those who are ill and anyone they care to share it with.

So when I read today that Will Farrell is going to star in a black comedy about Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, beginning with his last term in office, I was more than a little upset. Apparently, the premise of the movie is about an intern who has to convince Reagan that he’s an actor playing the President Of The United States.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. Dementia is not a punchline.

This isn’t a political statement. It doesn’t matter what political party you favor or whether you loved Reagan or hated him as President. The man was a human being with a family who watched him battle this dreaded disease for many years. A family he loved but could no longer remember.

I suppose I should expect noting less from Hollywood but this seems to take meanness to a new level. Of course this is America so I respect their right to freely create whatever type of entertainment they feel will make them their share of shock dollars.
I can state the obvious and ask whether these people would make a comedy movie about their own fathers battle with Alzheimer’s, but I think we know the answer to that question.

Five and a half million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. MIllions more love and care for these individuals who were once as active and productive as the rest of us.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to understand.

48 thoughts on “When It’s Not Funny

  1. Carrie Rubin

    I’m with you on this one. I love a good laugh, but at the expense of this serious disease that has devastated so many individuals and their family members? I think not.

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  2. Nurse Kelly

    Still trying to get over the restaurant… and now this?! Definitely agree with every word you typed here, George. And I love Will Farrell too, but will not support this movie. Great post!

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  3. vanbytheriver

    How awful. I had not heard of this one. What is wrong with these people ? I’m with you, George, there is nothing funny about this disease and its heartbreaking effect on entire families. And for me, Farrell hasn’t had a good movie in a long time.

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    1. George Post author

      Quite honestly, I’m only a sometimes fan. I like him in some things and think he overacts in others. Maybe he needs the attention because he certainly doesn’t need the money.

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  4. colinandray

    “Hollywood”, while seemingly a very successful business venture in the movie business, established low levels of sensitivity years ago when they added glamour to otherwise horrific situations. They went lower when they “americanized” well known world events in which the US was not directly involved. The fact that they are going even lower should be no surprise. They are clearly prepared to produce anything that will potentially make them money… end of story!

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  5. Blair (The Shameful Sheep)

    Um, what? I hadn’t heard that yet. There are very few places I ‘won’t go’ when it comes to humor, and this is one of them. Not good, Will Ferrel, not good. I won’t be supporting this movie at all, and usually I run to see new comedy movies :/

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  6. davidprosser

    Even if the premise of the movie were funny (it isn’t) to base it on a real person is tasteless whether a President or an ordinary citizen. It should be obvious to anyone that this will cause pain to the family though with the almighty dollar at stake I doubt his matters.
    Luckily not being a Will Ferrell fan missing this film won’t make a difference to me but I hope it’s boycotted in a big way.
    Hugs

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  7. Ilona Elliott

    I think you’re right George, this is not a subject that should be fodder for a “dark comedy”. I would love to see someone approach the subject with a sensitive portrayal. I always loved the film “Awakenings” with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, but it was just heartbreaking to watch. Will Ferrell is no Williams or De Niro and Hollywood is rarely up to the task of producing movies of that caliber anymore. The Reagans or any one else’s suffering as a result of this disease is no laughing matter. It’s always tragic. Thanks for posting this.

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    1. George Post author

      You’re right, Illona. The quality if film that comes out of Hollywood these days is questionable at best. I’m not sure they can approach this subject with the compassion and sensitivity it deserves.

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  8. Ann Coleman

    Like you, I have a very broad sense of humor (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I used to watch the show, “Reno 911”). But there is a fine line between funny and cruel, and this movie has crossed it. Hollywood has sunk to a new low, and I hope the movie flops. Sadly, it might do quite well, because making fun of someone we don’t like, even on the most personal level, has become quite acceptable. But there is nothing funny about Alzheimer’s, and nothing funny in causing pain to the family of a real person who struggled against that awful disease. You nailed this one, George!

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Ann. You’re right, the movie will probably do well. There is no explaining bad taste and insensitivity with people so there is a segment of the population that just doesn’t get it or hasn’t been affected by this dreadful disease.

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  9. Kim

    I heard about this on the radio this morning and I agree it’s disgusting. My grandmother died from Alzheimer’s disease and it was heartbreaking to watch. The people producing this disgusting film and acting in it ought to be ashamed. It’s as if they were just waiting for Nancy Reagan to die so they could do this. I hope there is some serious backlash over this. Anyone who would produce this and watch it and laugh about it needs their morals examined. Thanks for bringing this important topic to light.

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    1. George Post author

      I agree with every word you wrote, Ann. I keep hoping the backlash creates some people to reconsider but we’re talking about Hollywood so I don’t hold out much hope.

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  10. TheMoonLitHowl

    Well, I have good news for you George, and for those of you who are Will Farrell fans (I personally have never found Farrell funny. Ever.) Will Ferrel has declined to do the movie. Not sure if that decision came before Reagan’s family members spoke out against it, and the onslaught of disgust by the general public, or if it was after the backlash hit the fans, but Farrel has said he will not do it. I do not know if that will put the movie on the skids or not.

    I have a relative who went through Alzheimer’s. It is a very saddening disease. The first of the family she did not recognize was her great-granddaughter. Later pictures of her own parents she did not know. She passed before the worst stages of the disease hit her. For anyone to think it was humorous to make a movie about this, regardless of whether it was about a public figure or not, is just wrong.

    Everyone now and then Hollywood gets it right and releases a good movie, but mostly what they release is junk. Embarrassing, stupid, junk that is not at all funny when it’s meant to be.

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    1. George Post author

      That’s is good news. I read the same thing this morning and now he’s trying to say he never committed to it, it was just a script he read. I hope the scrap the whole project. I’m sorry to hear you had a relative who had this disease. It must have been awful for everyone involved.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. TheMoonLitHowl

        It is hard. Speaking as a relative, I will say when a family member is determined to have this the family HAS to find a way to make peace with it, and find “some” humor in some situations. If you cannot, you will literally be torn apart. That doesn’t mean humor as this tacky movie would have been, or will be, but the loving, kind, caring humor that we all find in any difficult situation.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Carol Ferenc

    I hadn’t heard about this. Two words come to mind: tacky and tasteless. Thanks for sharing this news, George. Let’s hope it’s a box office flop.

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  12. The Coastal Crone

    No, this is not funny Too many of us have relatives that are suffering from this. Thankfully, I read that he had pulled out. I believe in laughter but not at the expense of those who are affected.

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    1. George Post author

      I agree and I’m happy he pulled out but I’m not sure if they’re going to continue the project without him. Such insensitivity.

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  13. Fourth Generation Farmgirl

    I agree with you, George. Although it wasn’t a black comedy as this movie is, the film about Margaret Thatcher that was released a few years ago (Meryl Streep won an Oscar) struck a similar chord with me. A woman who was known for her strength and leadership (The Iron Lady) depicted at the most challenging part of her life seemed unfair. After all, she spent many many more years of her life in public service than not, and in my opinion, THAT is how she should be remembered–NOT weak and confused. The film really bothered me. But, as you say, that’s Hollywood.
    I’m sorry to hear about this upcoming movie with Will Farrell. I won’t see it.

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you. I was never a big fan either. Since the. He backed out if the deal but I don’t know if they’re still going ahead with the movie. Seems obscene to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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