Doing satire is a risky proposition. Courting dark or political themes without stumbling into bad taste is a master’s art. But there are those who have built entire bodies of work around the form, two of whom might humor us with their thoughts on the matter. There’s author George Saunders, whose writing elaborates the evils of consumerism and the motivations of genocide while still getting laughs. Then there’s actor and funny man Ben Stiller, star of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — based on the 1939 James Thurber short story of the same title — who made a name for himself with his bleak comic style. Both Saunders and Stiller will be on hand tonight at McNally Jackson to talk about their careers as humorists, a conversation supplemented with clips from Stiller’s film, readings of Saunders’s work, and an audience Q&A. Go check it out, is our modest proposal.
Fri., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., 2014