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The Opening Act

       review by Bobby Blakey


The world of stand-up comedy is not all laughs behind the scenes if you have ever heard any stories from some of those that came up. It makes for a great back drop and the latest film The Opening Act looks to go all in featuring a who’s who in the comedy world including Jimmy O. Yang, Alex Moffat, Cedric The Entertainer, Neal Brennan, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr, Whitney Cummings, Jermaine Fowler, Russell Peters, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger. Add to the mix the producing power houses of Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley and writer/director Steve Byrne at the helm and you have big potential, but does it bring the laughs or will it bomb on stage?

The Opening Act follows Will Chu who has it all - the job, the girl - but what’s missing is his true passion in life, to become a stand-up comedian. When he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero Billy G., the realities of life on the stage come crashing in. Between relentless hecklers, drunk comedy groupies and hard-to-impress morning radio DJs, things get off to a rough start. Even if he can take the opportunity to learn from his idols and overcome the challenges, Will still needs to decide if he should continue with the life he has, or pursue the one he has always dreamt of – the life of a comedian.


I’m not going to lie, for whatever reason I didn’t have high hopes for this film. There was just something about it that made me think it was going to miss the mark, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure there is a simple formulaic approach to the story, but the cast and focal point on the world of stand-up helps to elevate it to something bigger. Everyone here does a great job with a who’s who of the comedy world popping in and out, but this is Jimmy O. Yang’s show. He brings a simple innocence and passion to his craft that shines through as we watch his struggles to make it.


They mixed in a few crazy moments to showcase the crazy night life of the comedian world while still keeping it grounded in a sense of reality. There is way more heart here than I expected to go along with the laughs. I was also really happy to see famed stunt man and martial artist Simon Rhee in small non-action but very important role in the film as Will Chu’s father. This is a great film that brings the laughs and heart of the comedian and stage that I hope fins the audience it deserves.

In addition to the film this release features bonus content including extended stand-up scenes, featurettes and more. Step onto the stage and grab your copy of The Opening Act available now on Blu-ray and DVD from RLJE Films.

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