I guess that I was expecting more of a concert-type film and it took a bit of adjustment (a few minutes) but then I really got into Lance Bangs’ road documentary Let America Laugh, which follows David Cross’ recent tour supporting his comedy cd. Cross is half of Mr. Show (with the other half being Bob Odenkirk) and is a solid, intelligent independent comic. While Mr. Show was produced with HBO and Cross did a great HBO special in 1999, David Cross: The Pride is Back, that special hasn’t been released on VHS or DVD. Mr. Show was slowly released on DVD and the Mr. Show movie, Run Ronnie Run was finally released, but I have yet to see it and apparently it’s not the edit that the filmmakers would prefer to release. So that probably explains why Mr. Cross didn’t go the traditional route of many comedians and stay within the Time Warner AOL, etc, etc, etc world and make more stuff. One problem could be the difficulty in packaging Cross’ acerbic and politically charged material into a sitcom built around David and his quirky neighbours. So that’s probably why the fiercely independent comedian released his comedy CD, Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! on Sub Pop records.
Lance Bangs follows Cross around and does capture chunks of the stand-up, but what is more fascinating is how the documentary shows a great slice of life on the road. There is a lot of focus on the fans and people attending the shows. It’s a great view that gives you the sense of being with Cross as he tours around through the good and the bad. If I have to compare the film in a pitching, high-concept sort of way I would say that it’s a bit of a mix between Grant Gee‘s Meeting People is Easy and Christian Charles’ Comedian. It’s a road movie that gives you a great slice of life as Cross tries to make people laugh across North America.