'While You Were Away'—A Husband Confesses To A Very Disturbing Act In Darkly Comedic Short Film

If there's one subject most men don't want to talk about, it's the thought of anything bad happening to their manhood. Which makes this comedic short film by UK writer Gabriel Miller and directed by Ben Mallaby all the more hilarious, but be prepared because it's the blackest of humor.

The compact short takes place in one room between two people, a husband and wife played by British comedian Richard Herring and actor Rachel Stubbings. Stubbings' character arrives home from a weekend away with her girlfriends to find that Herring has sent the kids away because he has something to tell her.

What that is, well, it's not something a wife would ever expect to hear from their husband. It's a shocking and absurd announcement but it's shot in a very serious way, and that's what makes it work so well. There's also a punchline at the end, when Stubbings' character delivers her own devastating news.

Like Miller's previous short film A Reasonable Request the subject matter takes an everyday scenario and applies a really messed up revelation from one of the characters.


"We think we know what’s going on and then BAM! something totally unexpected happens and our brains struggle to catch up." Miller explains to Smash.com. "As someone who likes to shock, I’m naturally drawn to this juxtaposition. When I see a normal mundane situation my mind wonders what else might be going on beneath the surface. Things are never quite what they seem, so it’s fun drawing out what might really be going on in any given situation."

In A Reasonable Request a son comes to his father with a way to make them both rich, but it just so happens to involve some father/son incest—which the father is totally up for. Sure it's dark and ludicrous, but this kind of taboo-driven satirical humor masked in seriousness has some fine lineage in British comedy.

"Richard Herring has always been a hero of mine, as has Stewart Lee." notes Miller. "Chris Morris is the absolute master of dark comedy, with shows like Jam and The Day Today pretty much inventing the entire genre of grounded absurdity. Black Mirror and Louis C.K.’s show Louie are the current best in class when it comes to this type of comedy."


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