Spike Lee Talks Finding the Right "Balance" of Humor in 'BlackKklansman'

"I don't like to use the word 'comedy,' but there's humor in it, which comes from the premise of the film," the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter's Director Roundtable.

When finding the proper tone for BlackKklansman, Spike Lee found it to be an overall balancing act. 

"We had to balance it because, I don’t like to use the word 'comedy,' but there’s humor in, which comes from the premise of the film, which is a black man infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. That’s absurd," the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter's Director Roundtable. “The absurdity, that’s where the humor comes from. From the premise, and so, in the editing room, we had to get the right balance."

Despite searching for the perfect balance while helming the film, Lee is aware that BlackKklansman is "not the first film in the history of cinema that's had a very serious subject matter with humor." In fact, the director credits Dr. Strangelove as being a perfect example of tackling both the comedy and drama genre. 

"My go-to is Dr. Strangelove with [Stanley] Kubrick. … It’s still about the possible extinction of humankind to a nuclear holocaust, so, it’s trying to find the right balance," he explained. 

Lee partnered with longtime editor Barry Alexander Brown on the film, who has also worked with the director on such films as Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and Inside Man.

Lee also revealed that other movie projects he aspires to make, but can’t get financed, include stories on Jackie Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson and even Hitler: "You got to go where the money is."