Make 'Em Laugh: Jim Breuer's "And Laughter for All"

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It is incredibly difficult for a comedian to produce a clean, family-friendly show that is still funny, especially if their career and audience up until now have been built on raunchy comedy. Jim Breur opens his new comedy special And Laughter for All with a backstage conversation between Breur and his various alter-egos and impersonations. He lays down the law for them and explains that his new show is about “laughter for all,” comedy that can be enjoyed by fans of his old stand-up and his run on Saturday Night Live as well as families. Having sat through And Laughter for All, I am happy to say he almost entirely succeeds in his goal with only one major misstep and delivers an enjoyable night of comedy, “clean” or otherwise.

Most of the humor in And Laughter for All is focused on Jim Breur's family life and his attempts to stay a young metal-head while becoming increasingly comfortable as a dad. He tells stories about taking his wife to a Metallica concert and getting trampled by mobs of rabid Slayer fans. He offers to take care of the kids for a week to give his wife a vacation, and he gets roped into taking his kids to Six Flags Wild Safari, a drive-through “safari experience” in New Jersey. (Spoiler: Wild chimps tear his car apart, and he has to stare down an ostrich in order to escape, a story which inspired the DVD cover art.)

My biggest problem with And Laughter for All is that in the midst of an otherwise fun stand-up show, Breur joked about dressing up as a transvestite to scare away his daughter's potential boyfriends. It is a cheap joke, one that plays on fears of cross-dressers and the transgender community. Every year, transgender people are assaulted and murdered because misinformed and misguided people are afraid. This joke immediately pulled me out of the show. I had to walk away and come back to watch the rest later because I didn't think I could fairly review the remainder of the show.

Fortunately, the rest of Breur's show does stay true to his aim, and I thought some of the bits, particularly the Wild Safari adventure, were very funny. I hope that next time, however, he stays away from transphobic humor and makes a comedy special that truly is “laughter for all.”

Jan
17
2014
Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.

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