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“The premise for all comedy…

… is a man in trouble”, Jerry Lewis is supposed to have said. If that is true, isn’t it a paradox that comedy and documentary films not more often go hand in hand? Because a lot of documentaries are surely about somebody in trouble: about someone mistreated by society, some pariah or outcast who stands up against someone or something. So there should be plenty of possibilities to make that funny to look at. How come it so seldom is – funny to look at, I mean? How come we often avoid using humour in any form to get our message or communication across?
Well, in the Lewis-quote it is kind of inherent that we laugh at the man in trouble and we as filmmakers surely don’t want to have people laughing at our main characters. But why not? In his book, “Comedy is a Man in Trouble”, Alan S. Dale writes something like (quoted from memory): “Slapstick humour doesn’t feel very profound but yet very truthful to our own experiences in life.” I immediately link the second part of that sentence to some…