The Comedian s Guide to Survival
James Buckley, Tim McInnerny, James Mullinger
Directed by Mark Murphy
GSP Studios International 2016
The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is a superb phantasmagorical comedy about James Mullinger, a comedian trying to make it in the stand-up comedy world. Actor (James Buckley) plays Mullinger and Mullinger has a cameo as an superstar comic. The humor in this biomockumentary is off-kilter from its premise of an unsuccessful comic interviewing successful comics to its closing where Jimmy Carr introduces Mullinger but it is James Buckley who comes out. The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is like nothing you have ever seen or will ever see.
The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is about a struggling comic named James Mullinger who has to interview successful comics so his editor can mash his lack of success in his face. Despair is followed and preceeded by glimpses of possible triumph. As Mullinger the character puts it: life is a series of increasingly high hurdles trying to hit you in the balls with nothing but a puddle of shit on the other side. The hurdles are a wife who wants him to quit, friends who steal his material, a boss who demeans him, and a YouTube video of the comic wetting himself on stage. Mullinger (Buckley) quotes from the non-existent Comedian’s Guide to Survival like a lost soul looks to the Bible for sustenance. You just can’t help but root for the guy.
The movie has a long list of cameo performances including Gilbert Gottfried (who opens the movie with the most honest bit of advice the fake Mullinger gets), Omid Djalili, Gina Yashere, Brendon Burns, and Canadians Mike Ward, Derek Seguin and Mike Wilmot. All of which sound off-the-cuff so it really works with the premise.
The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is to comedy what the Hitchhiker’s Guide is to the Galaxy: oddly funny and in reality unreal. It is unique, darkly funny, memorable, and weird.