The Last Laugh
Stand-up tragedy with deceptive intelligence
This article is from 2015.
Despite a sentimental conclusion and the clear influence of stand-up comedy on the structure, The Last Laugh is a mordant satire that goes beyond the simple parody of comedians that it advertises. Keir McAllister's script twists elegantly, moving from a naive examination of how male comedians try to deal with feminism, into a more complex tale of love and deception.
Beginning with a comedian's attempt to cash in on the fashion for feminist comedy – played with a despairing gusto by the author, The Last Laugh mocks the egotism of a male artist who, even when he is being cynical and Machiavellian, is trapped by his lazy assumptions about the nature of women. Larah Bross, his foil, gets the best lines and teaches him a life lesson about confusing sex and love, or sex and weakness.
Alternating between solo routines and witty banter, the script is less amusing when it presents fragments of the stand-ups' acts, but sparkles when the couple get into complimenting or abusing each other. The introductory scenes suggest that The Last Laugh will be a predictable essay on the insecurities of the comedian, but it makes trenchant comments on the battleground of heterosexual desires and prejudices.
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