Netflix’s new comedy, The Last Laugh, stars Chevy Chase as a retired talent manager named Al Hart who reunites with his first client, Buddy Green, played by Richard Dreyfuss, after 50 years. Buddy was a promising comic who quit to settle down and take care of his family, but Al convinces him to get back on stage. Because the premise sounds totally plausible, viewers are wondering, is The Last Laugh based on a true story?
The Last Laugh was written and directed by filmmaker Greg Pritikin, and while he didn't base the movie on a specific story, he told Parade that he was inspired by a real group of older comics he and friend Paul Mazursky used to eat breakfast with. “We and a group of guys in their 80s had breakfast every morning at the farmer’s market in Hollywood,” said Pritikin. “We did this for years and this was a group of the smartest, funniest men I had ever met. Some were comedians, some were trying to work and it was eye-opening—these guys were in their 80s, but they weren’t old men. Their bodies had aged, but they had no desire to give up.”
When talking to Deadline, Pritikin said that the movie is about living in the present, no matter what your age. “For me, The Last Laugh is about learning to let go of the past and embrace the present,” he told the outlet. “It’s about rediscovering and remembering how to live. There is a grace in growing old and in letting go of the hustle and ambition, and embracing this new season in your life. I think people are happier at this point. It’s about letting go of the past and embracing the now.”
In the film, Al is a widower and he unexpectedly bumps into Buddy — who left his budding career as a comedian to become a podiatrist — at a retirement home. Al convinces Buddy to take another crack at stand-up comedy, and the two decide to embark on a bucket list tour of iconic comedy venues across the the United States. The film follows the friends on their journey to rediscover their lives and revisit the passions they gave up years ago.
But The Last Laugh isn’t just a sentimental film, it’s full of laughs as well. In a trailer for the movie, you can see the Dreyfuss and Chase’s undeniable comedy chops in action. In one clip Buddy tells Al that he doesn’t have an act per say, but he has 50 years of jokes to tell, and proceeds to tell one about his wife. “My wife loves sex,” he says to a packed audience. “Her favorite position was the missionary position. That’s where she’s in bed on her back and I’m in Africa.”
The movie also stars Andie Macdowell as Doris, a Kansas hippie who is now Al’s new found love interest. Kate Micucci (Big Bang Theory) plays Al’s granddaughter, Jeannie, and SNL alumni Chris Parnell plays Buddy’s son. Veteran stand-up comedians Lewis Black and George Wallace also make short, but hilarious appearances in the film.
The Last Laugh may not be based on a true story, but its heart is pretty inspirational. Al and Buddy’s journey proves that getting older doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams and passions, and that with an arsenal of talent and dedication, anything is possible.
The Last Laugh is available to stream on Netflix.
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