Dying Laughing is another top-notch comedy documentary and this one focuses on what life is like on the road. This review is better late than never–talk about timing!
Directed by Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood, the star-studded interview subjects include Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman, Cedric The Entertainer, Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Steve Coogan, Mike Epps, Jerry Lewis, DL Hughley, Amy Schumer, Allan Havey, Bob Saget, Bobby Lee, Bonnie McFarlane, Cocoa Brown, Dave Attell, David A. Arnold, Dom Irrera, Emo Philips, Faizon Love, Felipe Esparza, Frank Skinner, George Wallace, Frankie Boyle, George Wallace, Gilbert Gottfried, Grant Cotter, Jason Manford, Jay Phillips, Jeff Joseph, Jim Jefferies, Jo Brand, John Thomson, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Kevin Christy, Kym Whitley, Kira Soltanovich, Kirk Fox, Lee Mack, Neal Brennan, Omid Djalili, Paul Provenza, Rick Overton, Royale Watkins, Russell Peters, Sam Tripoli, Sandra Bernhard, Sean Lock, Stephen K. Amos, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Stewart Lee, Suli McCullough, Theo Von, Tiffany Haddish, Tom Dreesen, Tommy Davidson, & Victoria Wood.
I’ve seen a handful of documentaries relating to stand-up comedy. I’ve done some stand-up comedy myself so this is a subject that I can relate to. What goes into making people laugh and having to do it for a full-time job? A stand-up comedian essentially stars, writes, and directs their own performance. It’s not easy. It can be both agonizing and ecstatic at the same time!
The first time that Jerry Seinfeld went on stage for an open mike night was one of his worst performances. He couldn’t get through his set and only briefly mentioned the subjects that he wanted to talk about. Look at just how far he’s come since!
Nobody can really rehearse for what can go wrong in a show. Whether it’s getting a story wrong or a heckler in the audience, a show can change from night to night. What kills with one crowd can bomb badly the next day. That’s the challenge for many comedians–getting through one’s set without the boos from the audience.
What Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood have succeeded at doing is providing a documentary that provides both interviews a look at what life is like while on tour. Kevin Pollack’s documentary from a few years ago, Misery Loves Comedy, makes for complementary viewing. Pollack shows the dark side of comedy in his film, which was crowdfunded.
Gravitas Ventures distributed and released the comedy documentary in theaters and on demand earlier this year on February 24th.