Dying Laughing review – savagely funny documentary about standup

Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Stewart Lee, Garry Shandling and Victoria Wood feature in this film about the craft and catharsis of comedy

A murderer’s row of standup talent has been assembled for this documentary on the craft and catharsis of comedy. Chris Rock, Steve Coogan, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman and Stewart Lee are among the many faces providing testimony to the euphoria and agony that telling jokes to a group of strangers can bring. The film is stronger on the latter point, with some savagely funny accounts of the many ways that comedians deal with hecklers, and one devastating account of a gig going horribly wrong.

The endless conveyor belt of talking heads does rather lose its lustre over time, and some actual standup would have been welcome, but there’s a dizzying amount of insight, not to mention a real poignancy to some of the contributors: including Garry Shandling and Victoria Wood, both of whom died in 2016.


Gwilym Mumford

The GuardianTramp

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