Monday, September 11, 2017

You Laugh But It’s True (2011)

Number Rolled: 1
Movie Name/Year: You Laugh But It’s True (2011)
Tagline: A journey from the township to the stage.
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Comedy
Length: 83 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Day 1 Films
Producer: Kyle Ambrose, Anthony Anderson, Delon Bakker, Adam Glass, Rabin Harduth, Kagiso Lediga, David Paul Meyer, Michael Mills
Director: David Paul Meyer
Writer: N/A
Actors: Trevor Noah, Loyiso Gola, Rabin Harduth, Kagiso Lediga, David Newton
Stunts: Matt Allmen

Blurb from Netflix: Fledgling South American funnyman Trevor Noah pushes through an avalanche of doubts and fears while preparing for his first-ever one-man comedy show.

Selina’s Point of View:
When I added this film to the list, I really thought it was a stand-up comedy special. I was caught a little off-guard when I found out this was actually a documentary.

We recently made the decision to add documentaries to our list, but this was added well before that.

I’m a fan of Trevor Noah (Afraid of the Dark, Pay Back the Funny, It’s My Culture) as the head of the Daily Show, but this doc was from years before anyone even knew Jon Stewart (Evan Almighty, Death to Smoochy, The Faculty) was retiring. At the point when this film was made, I’d never even heard of Trevor Noah. I probably couldn’t have named any South African comedians.

I’m not the biggest fan of documentaries in general, but I was absolutely fascinated by this one. It followed Noah through his journey toward his first one-man show, but it also went into his life in South Africa and the South African culture in general.

I didn’t feel like I was sitting in history class waiting for the teacher to stop droning on – which is how documentaries can sometimes make me feel. I felt like I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to understand him. If anything, I believe this film may have heightened my appreciation of Noah in general, and not just as a comedian.

One of the things I loved most about this doc is that it showed points of view from various sides. They didn’t just show how Noah felt and why he was doing it, they also had negative commentary from other comedians. As a result, I got a greater feel for the entire picture and not just one side of things.

I would easily recommend this documentary to anyone that’s a fan of Trevor Noah, wants to know more about him, or has an interest in comedy and South African culture.

Cat’s Point of View:
This wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. You Laugh But It’s True isn’t a comedy special like the last Trevor Noah (The Daily Show, Mad Buddies, Taka Takata) show we watched. This wasn’t exactly like the other comedy special we’ve reviewed that was part documentary, either. This was fairly straight-up documentary. There are a few bits here and there featuring Noah’s stand-up act – but it’s far less of the screen time than I would have preferred.

I’ll be honest that my enjoyment factor for this sort of thing is currently hampered by the underlying worry I’m experiencing for my family and friends in Florida as Hurricane Irma chugs its way through the peninsula. Partially, I’m a bit disappointed that this wasn’t a full-out comedy show. A little levity would help right now to take my mind off of the things I can’t control. I am seriously craving some escapism.

Learning about Noah’s life and background was interesting. I did learn some things about the South African apartheid situation that I hadn’t known before. I enjoy learning about other cultures. The timing was just off for me here.

The thing is, I’m not sure I would have felt differently if I watched this under ideal circumstances. The bottom line, though, is that aside from a few laughs here and there, I wasn’t all that entertained. Anyone looking to learn more about comedy acts in South Africa and wanting to gain a little cultural perspective might get a bit more out of it.

Speech Available: English, Polish
Subtitles Available: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 79%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

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