Even the greatest comedians have performances where they just didn’t connect with their audience. And not just during their salad years when they were starting out, but even at the height of their fame they can still just strike out. But what keeps them going when they bomb? That’s the question that the documentary Dying Laughing attempts to dig into.
This is not the first time that a documentary has delved into the psyches of stand ups in the attempt to peel back their on-stage personas to examine their inner drive. But this one has a pretty heavy hitting lineup including Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Cedric The Entertainer, Russell Peters, Billy Connolly, Steve Coogan, Mike Epps, Sarah Silverman, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Eddie Izzard, Jamie Foxx and Jerry Lewis (who looks remarkably more well-behaved here than he did in that recent Hollywood Reporter interview that went viral). And I have to admit to a twinge of sadness when I saw the late Gary Shandling pop up in the trailer for the documentary below.
Dying Laughing goes into limited release and arrives on VOD on February 24.