The Comeback Comic
Some people are born with an extra-powerful funny bone. They donít need an act or a writer or a paying audience. They see humor around them every day and revel in sharing their amusing observations with everyone. In The Last Laugh, Buddy Green (Richard Dreyfuss) appears to fit this description. He started out being a great stand-up comic whose agent (Chevy Chase) booked him for a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show back in the 1960s, which was considered the crown jewel of comedy gigs then. But Buddy just up and quit. His agent, Al Hart, hasnít seen or heard from him for half a century.
Imagine Alís surprise when Buddy turns out to be his tour guide in the elderly assistance home heís moving into. Even more surprising, Buddy is still getting laughs and being the life of the party. But soon both men, who are in their 80s, get bored and decide to try show biz again. Al finds his old rolodex and starts calling his contacts.
And so begins a tough but revealing road trip from Los Angeles to New York, with Buddy performing in stops along the way.
A comeback after fifty years?
If successful, that would rate cheers.
An agent thinks itís worth pure gold
but comic believes heís just too old.
Yet funny man still cracks his jokes
and gets laughter among most folks.
Agent and client hit the road.
Both elderly, so itís a load.
Watching these two is lots of fun
with a tear or two when itís done.
Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss
know the way to entertain us!
Chevy the straight man in this show,
while Richardís humor seems to glow.
Together they make quite a pair.
Not praising them would not be fair.
Chase and Dreyfuss play off each other like the pros they are. Yes, Chase must hold back his own humorous side to make way for Dreyfussí comic tour de force. But this casting works. While watching The Last Laugh, my husband and I found ourselves laughing more than at any movie since Paddington 2.
Fortunately, all cast members deliver the goods here. Standouts include: Andie MacDowell as an adventurous hippy follower; Lewis Black as a fellow comic with an important decision to make; Chris Parnell as Buddyís worried son; and Kate Micucci as Alís concerned granddaughter.
Although not a perfect movie (fantasy segment, Iím talking about you), The Last Laugh reminds us how important it is to follow your dream at any age.
(Released by Netflix and rated TV-MA.)
For more information about The Last Laugh, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.
NOTE: This review is dedicated to the late great George Bettinger, who will always be Mr. Showbiz to me.