Free Speech & Peace

Can We Take a Joke? VIP Advance Screening

July 19, 2016

Charles Koch Institute, ACLU-NCA, FIRE, and National Coalition Against Censorship, along with Flying Dog Brewery, host screening and panel discussion.

WASHINGTON — The Charles Koch Institute, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the ACLU-National Capital Area (ACLU-NCA), and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) are co-sponsoring a VIP advance screening of Can We Take a Joke?, a new feature documentary that offers a thought-provoking and wry exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy, with notables like Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Lisa Lampanelli, and Adam Carolla detailing its stifling impact on comedy and the exchange of ideas.

“Free speech allows us to question the status quo and challenge ourselves to be better,” said Sarah Ruger, who directs free speech initiatives for the Charles Koch Institute. “The arts are an essential pathway for social commentary and introspection, and now, more than ever, we need more toleration.”

Ruger continued, “Though some comments may be seen as distasteful and even offensive, free speech is one of our most basic rights and has transformed our society when opposing views have been expressed with civility and respect. We must celebrate and protect free speech and expression for future generations.”

Before the screening, Flying Dog Brewery, which has organized the 1st Amendment Society to promote the arts, journalism and civil liberties, will be providing its beers at a welcome reception. Following the screening, there will be a talk-back panel with filmmakers Ted and Courtney Balaker, featured comedians Gilbert Gottfried and Karith Foster, FIRE CEO Greg Lukianoff, and ACLU-NCA senior attorney Scott Michelman.


WhatCan We Take a Joke? VIP Advance Screening

When: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

6:30-8:00 p.m.: Welcome reception with Flying Dog Brewery’s 1st Amendment Society

8:00-9:30 p.m.: Screening of Can We Take a Joke?

9:30-10:00 p.m.: Talk-back with director Ted Balaker, producer Courtney Balaker, ACLU-NCA’s Scott Michelman, FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff, and comedians Gilbert Gottfried and Karith Foster

Where: cki_newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20001

Due to constraints from the film distributer and limited space, this event is invite only. If you are a member of the press and would like to cover this event, please email Trice Jacobson ( for credentials.

ABOUT CAN WE TAKE A JOKE?Can We Take a Joke? stars comedians Gilbert Gottfried, Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Karith Foster, and Heather McDonald. The film was produced by Korchula Productions and will be distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films, the company behind films like Super Size Me and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Can We Take a Joke? will be released in select theaters on July 29 and digitally on August 2. (It is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.) The film has been covered by dozens of outlets, including Vanity Fair, Variety, Maxim, Deadline Hollywood, cki_newsweek, and The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that it delivers “sobering commentary” and “strongly makes the case that we’ve all got to get over ourselves.”

ABOUT THE CHARLES KOCH INSTITUTE: The Charles Koch Institute is a non-profit educational organization, with over 3,000 alumni of its programs, focused on the importance of free societies and how they increase well-being for the overwhelming majority of people. Through sound research, education, and robust discussion, the Institute aims to advance an understanding of what it means to flourish and enhance people’s ability to lead better lives.