Getting fired is never pleasant, but when it’s Woody Allen who shows you the door because “you look retarded,” it can be quite traumatizing.
That’s what happened to actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch, who describes what she calls her “Woody Allen experience” in her documentary Fired! Instead of hiding it from the famous friends to whom she had proudly announced she was working with Allen on an off-Broadway play,
Gurwitch openly told them what happened.
She discovered she was not alone. Everybody seemed to have a story about being downsized, from summer jobs to important positions, and it proved to be quite entertaining.
Gurwitch therefore decided to produce a Fired! stories show on stage in Los Angeles and New York, with her friends performing.
Encouraged by its success, she put the stories in a book, Fired, Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized and Dismissed.
In the movie, Gurwitch travels across the United States to interview her friends (Tim Allen, Illeana Douglas, Jeff Garlin and Richard Kind are there among others) and goes one step further by talking to more ordinary people like GM workers from the Lansing plant.
She meets professionals of downsizing – how to fire someone without even making it sound bad – and attends a seminar on how to react after getting fired.
Fired! Could have been a thoughtful reflection on a society where massive lay-offs seem to have become a trend, and job security a legend.
Every time it seems to go in that direction, Gurwitch comes back to her actors friends.
She listens to their stories while sipping a drink in their private L.A. pools, when at the same moment millions of other downsized are simply trying to survive.
For Gurwitch, it was just a way to cope with the emotional implications of her having been “let go” and be reassured, but as one of her interviewees reminds her, many people would love to be fired by Woody Allen.
Fired! Will be shown at Cin