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PBIFF’13 MOVIE REVIEW: “Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor”

April 11, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 5.50.08 PMI honestly didn’t know what think about this concept for a documentary; permanently  disabled war-vets, returning from Iraq, learning to return to their normal lives, and then are suddenly thrust into a stand-up comedy workshop, and then having them perform in front of a live audience?

The movie could’ve gone either way, but director John Wager was able to respectfully crack the code, by telling a heartfelt story, not to mention laugh out loud FUNNY one about the greatest weapon we poses as human beings…laughter.

Five severely wounded veterans were given the opportunity to explore their experiences through the healing power of humor. This film follows their journey as they work with professional comedy writers, and A-List comedians: Zach Galifianakis, Lewis Black, Bob Saget, and B.J. Novak, who help them write and perform their own personal stand-up comedy routines. This exciting venture gives them new comedic perspectives from which to view their injuries and their lives, and culminates in one big night performing at LA’s top comedy clubs.

What this movie does so ingeniously, is that with it’s devoted message, it’s also a great how to film for young people vying to become comics. It just goes to show that just about ANYBODY can do stand-up comedy. You just have to have the courage to do so. If your only excuse is that you have stage fright, I’m pretty sure fellow Comedy Warrior, Bobby Henline will call bullshit to your face right then and there. The five individuals are extremely funny people, they embrace their disabilities and find ways to naturally make them into uncomfortable pieces of humor. You can see the audiences reactions at the Laugh Factory or the Comedy Store, that once the ice is broken, it’s anything goes, and that’s one of the many secrets about stand-up comedy, that, and metaphorically saying, ‘Fuck you’ to the audience (proud advice from Zach Galifianakis).

The movie has a swift runtime, with strong introductions about each warrior and their lives, and how it will come back to them in a positive way for their comedy acts. Seeing comic greats like Galifianakis, Saget, and Black, shows that there are people out there that genuinely care and want to see great success from just about anyone. One of the best scenes in the film, was how taken back Galifianakis was that Joe Kashnow was so natural at his presentation, too proud to a point where Zach jokingly retorts with, “Such a big part of it is stage presence and being able to hold your own on stage. I didn’t have that for a long time, and I’m always… pissed off when I see people who have it naturally.”

“Comedy Warriors” is a genuine, funny, and respectful film about our troops who’re respected men & women, who’ve done their duty with courage & honor, who’ve returned home to families with the same love & understanding as before, and most importantly find a way to tell a hilarious masturbation joke. LOL. See this movie when you can, hopefully someone at HBO will come across this film, because they have a knack for selecting perfect docs.

GRADE: A

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