Release Date: 16th June 2017
Running time: 88 mins
Directors: Paul Toogood, Lloyd Stanton
Cast: Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Coogan, Eddie Izzard, Amy Schumer, Billy Connolly, Paul Provenza, Sarah Silverman, Rick Overton, Jerry Lewis, Stephen K. Amos, Dave Attell, Sandra Bernhard, Frankie Boyle, Jo Brand, Neal Brennan, Bobby Lee, Jim Jefferies, Tom Dreesen, Kirk Fox, Cocoa Brown, Keenen Ivory Wayans
“DYING LAUGHING is a candid look inside the agony and ecstasy of making people laugh for a living. A stand-up comedian must be the writer, the director, and the star performer. There is no rehearsal, no practice, and no safety net when you’re in front of a live audience. For most people, baring their soul on stage and having an audience “boo” at you would become a life-long trauma, but for stand-up comedians, it’s a nightly challenge. The funny and heartfelt documentary contains original interviews interlaced with personal footage of life on the road – all from a comedian’s point of view. Once you take this step behind the curtain, you will never look at these funny folks the same way again.”
I seem to remember all of the comedy gigs I’ve been to in the past; where they were, who the funniest comedian was, and that one joke I always managed to carry away that when I think back, makes me chuckle. There is a sometimes a kind of uncomfortableness about some of the jokes, because they are very close to home, or something we shouldn’t be laughing at, but other jokes – the mere observation of our ridiculousness makes us laugh at ourselves. I’m always aware that I’ve gone to see a show, ready to laugh, prepared to be entertained, with no idea how the comedian is planning to entertain and keep me amused.
Dying Laughing sets the record straight. In it, iconic comedians speak to camera about their experience of stand-up comedy, from starting out, through writing, up on to the stage. These are well-known comedians, from the USA and the UK. They speak of laughter, hecklers, touring, loneliness, mental health, and bombing, and they took me on a rollercoaster of emotions.
At the start of the film, when they are speaking about the fun parts of comedy, there was a moment when I wondered if I could do stand-up. When they started to talk about me/you/us the audience, and the hecklers, it reminded me of that infamous Bernie Mac performance, ‘I ain’t scared of you….!’, and as the documentary goes on, I realised that it takes a certain strength to be a comedian. One I don’t have! I think Chris Rock sums it up best in the documentary, when he speaks about comedians being observers, intelligent observers – ignorance is bliss, and so the other side is quite painful, that observations, that knowing, being a viewer.
I left the cinema smiling, and in awe. An absolutely brilliant film, as I said, prepare to go on an emotional rollercoaster.
DYING LAUGHING is in UK cinemas and On Demand 16th June http://www.dyinglaughingfilm.com