In the fall of 2005, Vince Vaughn enlisted four stand-up comedians to join him on a 30-day tour across the country, the aim being to give Middle America a taste of urban comedy. The corresponding, awfully titled documentary, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland, is cable TV-ready filler, an amiable, ordinary nonfiction portrait of four competent funnymen performing their routines and discussing their profession and personal lives in backstage interviews. Vaughn’s opening radio interview reveals that his motivation for staging the show (named after Buffalo Bill’s traveling variety act) stems in part from a desire to illustrate how stand-ups’ work is a reflection of their lives. It’s a point so obvious that it doesn’t need to be reconfirmed here, and thankfully, is one that’s quickly set aside in favor of simply spending time with the performers. Vaughn’s presence is greatest at the outset, as initial shows find him doing improv with Jon Favreau and Justin Long, as well as recreating scenes from a steroid-themed Afterschool Special that he co-starred in as a teenager with best friend, tour producer, and A Christmas Story star Peter Billingsley. The potential culture clash between foul-mouthed liberal jokesters and conservative audiences—as well as between Arab-American stand-up Ahmed Ahmed and white America—proves nonexistent, since the comics are largely greeted with raucous approval wherever they go, save for Sebastian Mansicalco when he dares make fun of San Diego men who go out wearing flip-flops. Though director Ari Sandel captures the comedians grumbling about losing sleep to visit a campground-turned-temporary-shelter for Hurricane Katrina survivors, and then recanting their petty criticisms after being confronted with such grave hardship, his film is too frivolous to grapple with subject matter so weighty. Which is okay, given that Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show doesn’t strive to be more than what it is: a modest portrait of guys struggling to make a name for themselves in a tough business, and taking advantage of a brief moment in the spotlight granted by a movie star.
- 105 min
- Ari Sandel
- Vince Vaughn, Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst, Sebastian Mansicalco, Jon Favreau, Dwight Yoakam, Peter Billingsley, Justin Long
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: