Salma Hayek, John Lithgow'Beatriz at Dinner' film screening, New York, USA - 06 Jun 2017

“OK, I think I’m good to go,” said Chloë Sevigny. She was about five minutes into the red carpet when she decided she’d had enough. She and her Gucci heart-printed head wrap walked away accordingly.

“Beatriz at Dinner” cast members were met with a barrage of politically charged questions at Gucci and The Cinema Society’s screening of the film at Metrograph on Tuesday night. John Lithgow’s character, Doug Strutt, has drawn comparisons to pre-presidential Donald Trump, and reporters were itching for a quote about the similarities between the two. While some cast members obliged, others were more interested in a somewhat lighter matter. Lithgow, Connie Britton and Salma Hayek shared their thoughts on the role of comedy in the age of Trump.

“It’s hard to categorize [‘Beatriz at Dinner’] as anything because it’s very funny, but it’s also very moving and ultimately it’s very troubling and painful,” said Lithgow, “but it’s a reflection.” The film has been called a dark comedy and a dramatic comedy, but to Lithgow’s point, the comic relief is reliant upon cringeworthy moments that reveal underlying issues such as racism, illegal immigration and environmentalism. Sound familiar?

Comedy is incredibly important right now,” Lithgow continued. “I think John Oliver and Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher are doing an essential and invaluable service. Bill had a mishap last week, Stephen had a mishap a few weeks before. These guys are getting broad, but they’ve got a lot to deal with — they’ve got a lot of material to cover. They’re the one thing that makes me happy, gives me hope. Comics, they rankle tyrants.”

“Comedy is one of the most valuable and viable ways that we can convey a message, convey a story and have it actually get in,” shared Britton. “Sometimes, I think drama can be so heavy-handed or it can push people away, but comedy is such a useful tool. I always say, too, having experienced some death in my life, it’s like you have to have humor to get through a death. I also believe you have to have humor to get through a difficult moment in time. We are in a difficult moment in time and comedy is something that joins us all together.”

Hayek, who plays the starring role of Beatriz, was the last to arrive to the carpet. She took her time with reporters, granting them a question each, as husband François-Henri Pinault looked on.

The role of comedy should always be both an escape and the ability to laugh at ourselves with a little bit of a deep observation,” she shared, “so that we can survive life.”

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