I Used to Be Funny

New York Times Critics' Pick
105 mins.
Directed by Ally Pankiw
NR
2024

Last day Wednesday, June 26.

I USED TO BE FUNNY follows Sam Cowell (Rachel Sennott, BOTTOMS), an aspiring stand-up comedian and au pair struggling with PTSD, as she decides whether or not to join the search for Brooke (Olga Petsa), a missing teenage girl she used to nanny.

The story exists between the present, where Sam tries to recover from her trauma and get back on stage, and the past, where memories of Brooke make it harder and harder to ignore the troubled teen’s sudden disappearance.

Writer/director Ally Pankiw’s debut feature is both funny and heartbreaking in its honest and refreshing look at trauma and recovery, and how they affect the relationships and communities that shape us.


“The perceptive dramedy I USED TO BE FUNNY features a mic-drop performance by Rachel Sennott as a rising stand-up comedian derailed by a vague, internet-viral crime. What happened to Sam (Sennott) is no laughing matter. But she and her fellow comics crack oblique jokes about it, anyway. Making her first feature, the writer-director Ally Pankiw lets most zingers land. Comedy is just how these strivers communicate—it’s how they break awkwardness, bond, fight, forgive and heal.” Amy Nicholson. A New York Times Critic's Pick!