Myles (Steve Vanderzee) is an up-and-coming stand-up comedian on the verge of his big break. He is about to open for the egotistical Reggie Ray (Lowell Deo), a well-known comedian who demands large crowds. As Myles prepares to open for the star, he learns that something strange is taking place in the venue. As employees from the theater begin disappearing one by one, Myles comes to understand that there is a murderer on the loose, and is left to determine whether his career is potentially worth his life. As Myles, the killer, and the rest of the individuals working in the venue square off in a comically twisted tale of life and death, everyone is left wondering, who will have The Last Laugh?
Stand-up comedy has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Not only is it nerve-wracking to get up in front of total strangers and tell a series of jokes from memory, but comedy is subjective, making it difficult to know ahead of time whether or not your jokes will land effectively. Adding to the pressures of the profession that already exist, Myles now has to deal with a mass murderer as well. This dark comedy toes the line of what is and isn’t acceptable to joke about, and it manages to land on the right side just about every time. The Last Laugh jokes about death, the afterlife, and the difficulties of coping with the loss of people around you.
“…up-and-coming stand-up comedian…Myles now has to deal with a mass murderer…”
As the incredibly dry humor spews from the mouths of Myles and his cohorts, viewers feel both uncomfortable and relieved by the attempts at comedy. The uncomfortability of The Last Laugh keeps viewers engaged and looking for a reason to laugh. As their skin crawls with the sometimes raunchy/ edgy humor, the ridiculousness of the delivery is what eventually causes those viewers to laugh out loud.
However, I found myself, on more than one occasion, struggling to understand what exactly I was laughing at. I was confused, to some degree, by my unintentional laughter and enjoyment. I came to understand, however, that my appreciation for The Last Laugh stems from the insanity of nearly every aspect of its being. Its many oddities and absurd take on comedy and horror kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next zinger, never failing to deliver.
The acting throughout is laughable, the jokes are silly, and the very plot of the film is hilariously underwhelming. What is brilliant, however, is that writer-director Jeremy Berg did all of this on purpose. With the level of uncomfortability strewn throughout The Last Laugh, Berg hits the nail on the head and brings his vision of dark, cringe-worthy comedy to life. Berg and his crew deliver a twisted comedy that both confuses and delights viewers.
"…a twisted comedy that both confuses and delights…"