Covid, police brutality, post-election drama; I get it, we need a laugh. When life is at its darkest, a laugh can feel cathartic and restorative. Some of the best comedy is timely and topical. Topical humor has an added bonus—it helps us process the often sad and absurd world we inhabit. Director Jules Lipoff’s short film Woke plays with the concepts of wokeness, racism, and workplace politics.
A Caucasian male employee makes some inappropriate remarks to his fellow African American coworkers: “Disney needs more black princesses. Am I right, my n—-?” He is immediately called into the boss’s office for sanctioning, told that racism has no place in her company and that he is fired. However, there is one last thing he can try in order to not get fired. His boss suggests an experimental treatment—Woke pills.
“…he can try an experimental treatment—Woke pills.”
Woke plays like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. It is not just bad SNL; it is bad SNL circa the mid-80s. Not a single scene made me laugh, chuckle, or even smile. Some of the humor was too literal and ultimately lazy: An alarm clock is next to a bed. The aforementioned Caucasian employee puts his hand on top of the alarm clock and declares, “No need, I am already woke.”
There is nothing clever about Woke; it feels as if it was written by frat boys after a few too many, thinking that the most sophomoric ideas would actually be funny to the rest of the sober world. There is only one thing less funny than this short “comedy”—the idea that some people think they can avoid being racist by uttering a few choice phrases or making a few empty gestures, which in effect, is as lazy as taking a pill.
"…was written by frat boys after a few too many..."