Day: March 17, 2017

Review: “Dying Laughing”

“We’re the last philosophers. Everybody now that talks is reading from a pre-approved script. Even our alleged smart people are corporately controlled. So there’s only one group of people that can kinda say what they want to say: Stand-ups.” So says Chris Rock, in the opening moments of the new documentary Dying Laughing, which premiered in theaters last month and is available On Demand. Jerry Seinfeld goes even further before the opening credits have rolled, describing comedy as:  “It’s beyond art. It’s a magic trick. Real magic.” If you think you’ve seen plenty of documentaries about the art of stand-up...

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Review: “The Last Laugh” documentary explores humor, the Holocaust and taboos

The Last Laugh opens with a quote onscreen from the noted non-comedian, German novelist Heinrich Mann, who wrote: “Whoever has cried enough, laughs.” Mann fled Nazi Germany while Hitler’s soldiers burned his books in public. The documentary then cuts to a Nazi-uniformed figure skater, then to present day. Yes, this is going to be about Jews and the Holocaust. Which somehow feels much more relevant in 2017 than it did in 2016, when The Last Laugh premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. After a successful festival circuit, the film began its theatrical run two weeks ago in New York City, and...

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Review: Punching Henry

After Henry Phillips released his semi-autobiographical movie, Punching the Clown, in 2010, Showtime expressed interest in developing a companion series. That series never came to fruition. But the awkwardness of that failure inspired Phillips and Gregori Viens to co-write and direct a sequel. Originally titled And Punching the Clown when it premiered a year ago at SXSW (and you can hear Henry Phillips tell me about his real-life stories that inspired these films in Episode #76 of my podcast, Last Things First), it’s now called Punching Henry and in theaters and On Demand now. If you saw the new...

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Lil Rel Howery on The Late Late Show with James Corden

Usually the March Madness of the NCAA basketball tournament pre-empts CBS late-night programming, but The Late Late Show with James Corden snuck in a brand-new episode on Thursday, and Lil Rel Howery joked about how difficult it is to talk about hoops with his uncle who keeps name-dropping players you’ve never heard of before. Also, why isn’t black Tinder called black Tinder? Roll the clip! You can hear all about Lil Rel in his own words on Episode #13 of The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First, see him on the big screen in Get Out, and on TV...

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