Funny man James Gregory is a favorite theater, club and corporate comedian. His timing, physical comedy and narrative in this bit from Beef Stew for the Brain shows why. He captures the very essence of our favorite overweight relative after a large dinner. The one who might just eat some more.
The Funniest Man follows the classic trajectory of the American celebrity. Its characters rise quickly from relative obscurity, reach a peak of tremendous fame and then fall fast and hard back to earth. Along the way there are a few groan inducing cliches. For example, there is the sardonic tale of the hapless comic who rockets to stardom with an idiotic gimmick only to find his life in even more turmoil after emptying a gun into a guy on the street for reasons that are left unexplored.
Another cliche is the story of the over-indulgent egomaniac who thinks he is above anyone else. It’s a common theme in movies, TV and comedy. It has been well documented in films like The Blues Brothers, Animal House and Dr. Rumack in Airplane! The late John Belushi also fell into this category. He kept audiences laughing with loud, energetic performances and his deadpan delivery of absurd lines in the early days of Saturday Night Live and then later in such renowned movies as The Blues Brothers and The Naked Gun.
This movie screams out for a good director who could have given the zany story a solid spin and a more focused screenplay. Unfortunately Simon Sprackling seems more interested in showcasing the film’s eccentric star character, a Mr. Punch-like jester with a plethora of homicidal skills. This type of cheeky and cruel clowning has its moments, but a little goes a long way when you are trying to create rooting interest in the characters.
What the film does have going for it is its imaginative and wildly creative premise. A jumper cable in lieu of headphones, an elephant gun blasting someone’s brains (with their eyes and glasses still attached), a prosthetically endowed Funny Man doing a striptease – these are just some of the absurd surprises this direct to video brain romp provides.
While the movie does not have the budget to make it a major hit, its quirky nature and entertaining performances could give it a cult following among fans of offbeat and dark comedy. Hopefully this will be the first of many projects for director, writer and star James Gregory. He has the talent, creativity and drive to become a major force in the world of stand up comedy. This is a comedy that should not be missed. Check out the trailer below and then see it for yourself! It’s sure to have you howling with laughter. This is one of the best comedies you will see this year. -Sarah R., Brenau University