The Big C: Can Cancer Be Funny?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

After a huge amount of publicity and hype, “The Big C” premiered on Showtime last night. The show is a comedy about something a lot of people don't like to talk about, let alone laugh over: cancer.

Laura Linney plays a middle aged woman who’s just been diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma, and given about 18 months to live. In the first episode, Linney's character, Cathy, confides her diagnosis to just one entity: the neighbor’s dog.

"I'm living the dream!" she shouts. "I'm here all year! Performing at Stage 4! Oh come on, come on, you gotta give it up for me a little bit. It's kind of funny? Death comedy." She laughs. And then starts to cry. 

So far reviewers have been divided on whether “death comedy” or “cancer comedy” is just going too far. Mary Elizabeth Williams, a freelance writer, and The Takeaway’s culture critic has an intimate connection with the topic as just last Wednesday her life started to feel a little bit too much like the new Showtime series.

Produced by:

Samantha Fields


Mary Elizabeth Williams

Comments [1]

Don Jones from Detroit[of course]

Not to criticze the lady fighting Cancer, but do you have any idea what " Get your scalps checked out , people" sounds like to 30 million Americans who can't even afford to got to the Doctor if they are ill? Is this "Regis and Cathy Lee" or The Takeaway?

Aug. 17 2010 09:59 AM

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