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Is “Get Out” a comedy? Jordan Peele has the perfect answer

Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

The internet is trying very hard to decide whether or not Get Out, one of the best films of the year, is a comedy.

It started on Monday (Nov. 13) when Variety awards editor Kristopher Tapley tweeted that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—the group that votes on the Golden Globes—ruled that Get Out would be considered a comedy for the 2018 ceremony, rather than a drama. (Unlike the Oscars, the Globes separates the two genres into separate categories.)

Never mind that, typically, the film studio (in this case, Universal) submits the categories it wants its films to appear in before the organizer ultimately makes a ruling. Never mind that, according to Tapley, Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele signed off on the decision to submit the film as a comedy. And never mind that the Globes have miscategorized films for decades (just two years ago, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure The Martian was deemed a comedy). People still took to Reddit, Twitter, and elsewhere to voice their disdain for the HFPA’s decision, unsure exactly what to call Get Out but absolutely certain that it’s not a comedy.

For some context, here are some other recent films that the HFPA decided were comedies:

  • The Martian
  • Her
  • American Hustle
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • The Tourist
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • Pride & Prejudice

Peele has previously called Get Out a “social thriller.” While it unmistakably contains elements of both comedy and horror, it’s probably most accurately classified as a satirical thriller about the experience of being black in America, which, as the film shows, can often be scary.

In the film, a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) is invited to meet the parents of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) at their lavish estate. The meeting starts off well enough—her parents seem hip and “woke” and perfectly fine with their daughter dating a black man, but soon, things go south. (Major spoilers ahead—but if you haven’t seen this movie yet, what exactly are you waiting for?) It turns out the entire family has for years lured black men and women to their home, where they transplant the brains of their dying loved ones into new bodies, achieving virtual immortality.

Today, Peele weighed in on the debate surrounding the Golden Globes, and his response pretty much sums things up:

At an event in New York Today, Peele talked more about the controversial choice. “The problem is, it’s not a movie that can really be put into a genre box,” he said, according to Indiewire. “Originally, I set out to make a horror movie. I ended up showing it to people and hearing, you know, it doesn’t even feel like horror. It’s in this thriller world. So it was a social thriller.” It’s still unclear if Peele was aware that Universal was submitting the film to the Golden Globes as a comedy.

Whether you think Get Out is a “comedy” or a “drama” or anything else is ultimately unimportant; what matters is you grasp its message.

Get Out fans should consider it a badge of honor that the film can’t easily be pigeonholed. Not only does that prove the film does a lot of different things well, but it puts it in some illustrious company. Some of the best films and TV shows in recent memory float somewhere in the space between comedy and drama. From Atlanta to Transparent, much of Hollywood’s best creative output defies genre, and Get Out is apparently no different.

This story was updated with new details of Peele’s thoughts on the film being submitted as a comedy.

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