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It's Money
Vaughn offers hilarious look at world of comedy

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights From Hollywood to the Heartland (NR)

3 1/2 stars out of 4

After the unqualified successes of "The Original Kings of Comedy" and "The Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie," you might have thought Hollywood would have made a slew of standup cash-in films, but it never happened. And for good reason.

This is a genre with very limited appeal that is generally relegated to cable or direct-to-video releases. Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy have all made successful concert feature films, but they are the exception, not the rule. If you're going to make a concert comedy movie these days, you'd better bring something new to the table. Producer, organizer and emcee Vince Vaughn has done just that with this blisteringly funny documentary.

While a good percentage of the movie is filled with snippet performances of four mostly unknown and immensely talented standup comics, Vaughn and director Ari Sandel put the accent on what's happening off-stage. It's not a set-up-joke-and-repeat type of event. Vaughn, the sketch performers (which often include former Vaughn co-stars Jason Long, Keir O'Donnell, Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley), the comics and their crew are seen in frank, revealing and often not-so-flattering ways. What these guys go through is the performance equivalent of a triathlon.

During off-handed, on-the-spot interviews, the comics shed their stage persona and reveal the worst-kept secret of the standup mindset: Live comedy is a tough business. Making people consistently laugh is absolutely the hardest thing in the world to do. These guys had to do it in 30 days in 30 different locales while traveling in close, cramped quarters with next to no down time. Participants in "Survivor," "The Biggest Loser" or any other gut-check reality show have got nothing on these guys. This is pressure-cooker entertainment, and it is hilarious. (Picturehouse)

E-mail Michael Clark at clarkwriter@mindspring.com.