Five Reasons To Watch The Comedian’s Guide To Survival


British comedian James Mullinger left London, England three years ago and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick on the East Coast of Canada. But oddly. the big screen biopic that was made about his life last year doesn’t get to that point of his career. It was however covered in a CBC documentary that can be viewed here. Instead, Mullinger and his co-writer (and director) Mark Murphy focus on the grueling early years while Mullinger had a day job at GQ Magazine (renamed COQ in the movie). The deaths, the bombs, the grind and the misery of the UK open mic scene are all documented in truly painful detail. Mullinger is played by James Buckley (star of The Inbetweeners and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) in the film and a whole host of comedians appear as themselves in the film including Gilbert Gottfried, Jimmy Carr, Omid Djalili, Gina Yashere, Mike Ward, Pete Zedlacher, Derek Seguin and Luisa Omielan.

British magazine critics were not happy about the depiction of life on a glossy mag, but comedy critics loved it praising Mullinger’s honesty and the film’s laugh count. When the film premiered at Just For Laughs, the Montreal Times’ Stuart Nulman called it “essential viewing, a funny realistic look at what it takes to make it as a stand-up comedian thanks to a fine crafted screenplay.” Chortle’s Steve Bennett stated that there is “a generous supply of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Films about comedians are rarely funny, but The Comedian’s Guide To Success breaks that curse by taking the angst and insider jokes of Louis CK’s Louie and playing it broader, less arthouse.”

Mullinger himself shares five reasons you should see this film:

#1: The deaths.

Everyone seems to love watching a comedian bomb. Not live obviously, but at home on YouTube. I have plenty of my own on stage deaths that appear on YouTube (see video below) which I think it would be churlish of me to take down so I leave them there. Even though it probably loses me work. What isn’t on there is a time I played The Comedy Store in London after about a year of doing stand up and the 400-strong crowd boo-ed me off to chants of “You unfunny c***.” While this particular situation isn’t depicted in the film, there are many more of them recreated. Director Mark Murphy certainly had plenty to choose from.

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#2  The cameos.

I frankly cannot believe the people we got in the film. Obviously it was very exciting to get James Buckley to play me. He is one of the best comic actors in England. But it was the cameos we secured that really makes the film. Brendon Burns is a genius and is one of the best things about the film. Mike Ward was so funny that I had to be ejected from the set because I was laughing too hard. Omid Djalili improvised like a master and as well as being one of the funniest people alive, is also a total gentleman.

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#3  To see what life on the road is really like.

Some aspects of the film aren’t necessarily that realistic. But the car journeys with other open spots is pretty much spot on. And the comedians who appear in that scene (Richard Sandling, Luisa Omielan and Maff Brown) are actually comedians I started out with, are all doing really well and remain close friends to this day.

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#4  To see why my wife hates me.

When you are trying to get good at comedy and you have a young family, it can be very hard on your partner. You are never home, you are hemorrhaging money by traveling the country working for free and whenever you are home, you are depressed because you got booed off stage the night before.­­ I think the film accurately conveys that ­struggle.

 

#5  The heckles.

There’s a scene where an old lady heckles me and I handle it awfully. That happened. I think I thought back then that if I ever started playing big venues like stadium arenas that the heckling would stop. I was wrong as proven at Harbour Station in Saint John last year:

 

 


The Comedian’s Guide To Survival is available now in North America for the first time, fully uncut and uncensored on DVD: http://www.jamesmullinger.com/store/the-comedians-guide-to-survival-dvd

 

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