Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (2008)
Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (2008)

Genre: Documentary Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: February 8th, 2008 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Ari Sandel Actors: Vince Vaughn, Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jon Favreau, Dwight Yoakam, Peter Billingsley, Keir O’Donnell, Justin Long

 


 

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n 2005, Vince Vaughn decided to recreate a Rat Pack assemblage of improvised sketches and comedy sets involving some of the greatest talents from the L.A. Comedy Store. He decided to tour 30 cities across the Midwest, bringing a variety show to places that typically didn’t see huge performances – a slice of high-quality entertainment outside of the New York area. With special musical and guest appearances, sensational variety show performances, and hilarious comic acts, “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show” is a must-see documentary that takes audiences from a variety of venues to behind-the-scenes moments of the 30-day, non-stop event.

Vince Vaughn hosts each variety show, introducing guest stars Justin Long, Jon Favreau, Keir O’Donnell (the gay, reclusive painter from “Wedding Crashers”), Peter Billingsley (Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”) and many others; he performs in various skits; and then he presents four hand-picked comedians who each do their routine. Ahmed Ahmed, of Egyptian descent, raised in Riverside, California, opens each stand-up segment, garnering great laughter with his edgy take on Arabs and the racial profiling that he witnesses and to which he has been a victim. Many of his jokes are based on real-life experiences, including his incarceration at an airport with a police record stating his offense was “Airport Rules.” Initially unsupported by his parents, Ahmed stuck with his passion for comedy and his love of movies and can be seen in the upcoming films “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and “Iron Man.”

Comedian John Caparulo distinguishes himself with an extraordinarily foul mouth and sarcastic temperament, and is definitely one of the funniest stand-up performers around. Taking stabs at cable TV men, porn, and intelligent dogs, his acerbic brand of humor is ruthlessly witty. During the 30-day tour, two of the shows had to be kept clean for reserved audiences, and John had particular difficulty with his excessive language – forced to cut off the punchlines of jokes that concluded inappropriately. “It’s a really cool thing to have a job that’s cathartic,” he says, thankful for the opportunity to be working with such an elite coterie of artists. Bret Ernst is the most animated of the foursome, doing a staggeringly accurate bit on skating rinks – involving the cool kids that have all the moves versus the kids who use the appalling rental skates. And Italian waiter-turned-comedian Sebastian Maniscalco delivers maddeningly humorous ribs at Ross stores, apple martinis, and girls in bars.

Instead of merely presenting footage from the different cities and performances, “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show” takes it a step further and fuses a reality-TV, behind-the-scenes camera to all of the interactions leading up to the stage, as well as afterwards. Pranks on the tour bus, along with the stressful condition of sharing a room with four guys, are continually displayed, often contributing to the blurring of acts throughout the venues. At times the group gets fed up with the claustrophobia of it all, but ultimately, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone claims they would gladly repeat.

While some cities barely get touched upon at all, and several sketches are shown only in brief montages, the film enlightens audiences well beyond a simple stand-up special. When the group changes its course due to storms, and then proposes to offer benefit shows for survivors of Rita and Katrina, an additional, touching side of humanity and cooperation is manifested, marking this collection of stars as much more than ordinary moneymaking enterprisers. Bringing laughter to those in dire situations is a noble act that certainly isn’t unappreciated; and laughter proves to be the best medicine, as everyone involved is clearly bettered for having participated in this unique, colossal road show.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10