Trying to be a stand-up comedian living on the circuit can be hell, or as in the case of writer-director Joshua Nelson’s short Limbo Laugh Factory, more like purgatory.
The film takes place in a nondescript comedy club in the middle of nowhere. Led by the MC (Vamshi Krishna Achutha), tonight’s lineup spans the spectrum of on-the-road comedians looking for that one big break or lamenting missed opportunities. One new comedian is petrified to step behind the mic for the first time. A seasoned veteran wonders if she still has it in her to keep going. Two comedians working out material wonder if having a few drinks helps or hinders this debate between clarity and nerves.
In Limbo Laugh Factory, Nelson comments on what it’s like being a traveling comedian. His cast works that grindstone with nary a promise of success. There is, of course, the agent, Angel (Malcolm Green), who makes wild promises in hopes of ensnaring new clients. In each case, the characters hopelessly struggle to survive in that voice of fame and obscurity.
“…tonight’s lineup spans the spectrum of on-the-road comedians looking for that one big break…”
I like what the filmmaker has to say about the state of stand-up. He highlights what has not changed over the decade. Well, except for the fact that fame is much more elusive today than in comedy’s heyday in the 1980s and 90s. He covers the spectrum well.
My only complaint is the comedy itself within short. The jokes are funny but not original, as I’ve heard about 80 percent of them before. The attempts at original humor come from angry and socially-minded comics. Still, the point is a look at comedy that is about making provocative statements versus making people laugh.
Though I would have loved to see more original jokes, I know how hard it is to write, especially from a mixed set of comedians style-wise. Limbo Laugh Factory is less about the jokes and more about the life and grind of those who dream of living in that world of the stand-up comedian.
"…covers the spectrum well."