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Todd Barry goes on the road to do a series of shows which relies entirely on him not preparing any material but instead just working the crowd for laughs. As an idea it seems like it must be easy, and indeed here he does make it look like they are doing all the work, but really there is a lot of skill here. How well it worked as a complete show I don't know, but the film is very well edited to really give plenty of good material from the shows.
It walks a fine line for the most part, because picking on people from the audience rarely is to uplift them so much as to use them as the butt of any jokes. For sure that the majority of the material here, but Barry is good at it and he manages to prevent it spilling over into just being cruel and kicking too hard – although he is helped by the fact that many of those he picks seem to almost be caricatures of themselves (egg- lady and Avant Abstract being particular highlights). The tone is well controlled though, and the characters in the audience are well tempered, so that those clearly looking to get picked, do not get the limelight they maybe were looking for, whereas those clearly not up to the ridicule are treated much fairer.
The result is a consistently funny hour. Also worth mentioning that the show is available online in very high quality format and very reasonable price (I forget precisely what it was – I think US$5) via Louis CK's Pig Newton, and as well as getting a very funny show, you also support a very positive business model indeed.
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