Just for Laughs (4 stars)

*4just For Laughs

Bill Hicks

New collection of standup footage including comedy greats Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg and Louis CK

Comedy buffs who heard that Just for Laughs was releasing footage of stand-ups entertaining the people of Montreal down the years might have got excited about the prospect of witnessing an especially notorious moment in the career of Jerry Sadowitz. Of course, chances are that any available recordings of the Scottish comic walking on stage to announce ‘hello moosefuckers’ before allowing the evening to go rapidly downhill were set alight shortly afterwards.

What we do get is a collection of short cuts from big-hitters such as late greats Bill Hicks and Mitch Hedberg, plus Louis CK (as brilliant in 2003 as he is now, clearly) and Chris Rock (though, not sure why they even bothered uploading a mere 90 seconds of his 1987 show) as well as lesser-known lights in the UK, Kyle Kinane, Jim Norton and John Mulaney. If you dare read the comments underneath, it seems every single comedian involved was either ‘awful’ (I’m paraphrasing) or not as good as they were on another, unrecorded occasion. The key, then, is not to go below the line here (or anywhere, probably).

One clear disappointment comes with a quick scan of the full lineup available to date, which shows that the closest we come to seeing a female comic is Tracy Morgan. There is the consolation of seeing a very young Jon Stewart not being quite sure whether he wants to be Hicks or Seinfeld. And fair play to the editors who merrily included cut aways to some audience members who are so stony faced that you’d think Medusa was up there trying out new material.

Chris Rock Stand Up - 1987

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