On the surface, Dying Laughing is a documentary about what it means to be a comedian. Directors Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood interview a variety of well know comics, including Neil Brennan, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Jerry Lewis, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, and Jim Jefferies, to discover what it takes to make a room full of people laugh. The documentary explores what motivated each comic to get up on stage for the first time and what makes them keep coming back. It takes a look at the ups and downs of the business while showcasing what it's really liked to get heckled and booed off stage. It gives viewers an up close look at what it takes to become a "successful" touring comic. If you have ever dreamed about getting up on stage to tell some jokes this documentary is a must see.
But, this documentary also has a deeper level to it. By telling the story of what it takes to be a comedian they give you an interesting look at what it means to pursue your dreams. One of the hardest things to do is to move forward in the face of resistance, but comedians have to keep going, working on their show, and moving to the next town to make enough money to keep their dreams alive. So, instead of sulking on each failure that they experience, they wake up and push the reset button so that they can keep pursuing the next laugh. The film was inspiring because it reminded me that things don't always go as planned, but if you want to succeed you have to keep moving forward and working hard to get to where you want to be. I think it's important to be reminded that hard work doesn't always pay off, but that doesn't mean that you can give up, you just have to work harder. The road to success will be paved with setbacks, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take the journey.
By the time the film was over I was feeling motivated and creatively inspired. I didn't expect to get so much out of a documentary about comedy but by taking an in depth look at what it takes to make someone laugh, but I walked away feeling inspired to keep fighting no matter what setbacks might come my way.
The documentary premieres at Cinema Detroit tonight and runs through March 2nd. You can get tickets to get a dose of inspiration and a few laughs by visiting Detroit Cinema's website here.