How I Used To Be Funny Explores Trauma Recovery

I Used to be Funny | Official Trailer | Utopia
I Used to be Funny | Official Trailer | Utopia / Utopia

Writer-Director Ally Pankiw's hour-length film I Used To Be Funny stars comedy breakout Rachel Sennott as Sam Cowell, a standup comedian with PTSD who is thinking about the missing teenage girl she used to nanny. This comedy-drama steers us into the present and the past, catching a glimpse into Sam's PTSD.

 The most fascinating about I Used To Be Funny is how Sennott delivers laughter as well as a serious performance into the first act following the second and the third. I Used To Be Funny tackles societal themes and topics of what it is like to work as a nanny, plus a rising comedian in our current time.

 The film opens with a zealous moment for Sam on the comedy club stage and seconds into the beginning cut to an intimate private, relaxing scene of Sam. In the beginning, we get a view inside Sam's PTSD brain through flashbacks of Sam before. The way how the film bring attention to that is wardrobe reflects past Sam and her present self.

The film addresses the experiences women face in standup comedy today, which is shown from Sam’s interaction with Brooke’s (Olga Petsa) father without Pankiw spoiling the film, but throw hints at how the interaction plays an important role in the wake of the incident. 

The sense of humor in the film helps break up the heartful, dramatic scenes in a gracious way for audiences with PTSD. Those who will be watching I Used To Be Funny may appreciate Pankiw’s visual point-of-view on the individuals who has PTSD.

What Pankiw is showing us is a new kind of female revenge or the ''Good for Her'' subgenre that is not a take of female revenge/vengeance, or devastation. Instead, it's about repairing relationships and reclaiming joy and comedic voices.

I Used To Be Funny raises awareness in healing from trauma addressing how humor is a coping mechanism to deal with the pain that caused Sam to be diagnosed with PTSD. 

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