That Joke

Created by Ben Hyland, The Pitch 2022

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A comedian tells a joke. From the second he walks out of the TV studio the world around him descends into chaos. It starts on social media, then whispers from other comics in the green room. Phone calls start to come in from his fiancée, his parents, his agent. The paparazzi are waiting outside the studio exit. They give chase and he finds refuge in a taxi. The road up ahead blocked with angry mobs demonstrating because of his joke. The radio plays news reports of the joke being an international incident. It’s tremors felt in all corners of the world. The joke has completely taking an uncontrollable life of its own. People are baying for blood. But the comedian knows. He’s willing to be made the scapegoat for the greater good. He knows people have lied. He knows people have taken his words out of context. But this is bigger than him. That Joke is a satire about the modern phenomenon of options being formed either without context or without bearing witness to the original statement. This will be filmed in a single continuous shot all in the space of five minutes.

Biblical Connection

John 2 v19. “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Jesus said these words in reference to his death and resurrection. Those around him would have perhaps misunderstood the statement and taken it literally. An act of sacrilege or dark magic. Later after his arrest and during his trial, false witnesses were brought forward. They twisted his words to “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.” A change that places a darker tone on the original statement. During his crucifixion he was taunted by the crowd. “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself.” These three incidents form the inspiration for this adaptation of a biblical text. The comedian taking the role of Jesus and his joke spiralling out of control at break neck speed. Whether misunderstandings take place unintentionally or whether they are manipulated to suit the narrative of those seeking to persecute, they still shaped opinions and highlight the importance of language.