Published Sep 26, 2014"No one wants to see home movies," the father of director Mark Myers says as Mark is preparing to make a documentary about him and three of his friends trying their hand at standup comedy for the first time. The man's got a point, but Delivery transcends its medium; through interviews with a number of notable comedians and enough personal drama among the likable group, Delivery will have you hooked by the time they hit the stage at Yuk Yuk's in downtown Toronto.
The film's exposition about the genesis its premise is as necessary as it is narcissistic. Mark puts himself front and centre as a young man working in the film industry who has the idea to make a movie about himself trying standup comedy for the first time; he wants to be on that stage before his wife gives birth to their first child, so he recruits a bunch of people that he knows to join him in the challenge.
Shane and Sean were two high-school class clowns who have always aspired to make people laugh. Sean is also dealing with the fact that his father has terminal cancer, while Shane has anxiety issues and hopes to maybe drop a few pounds before performing as well. They're joined by a wildcard, the 71-year-old Bert, an innately funny Dutchman who's somewhat of a father figure to Shane.
They agonize over their material in advance of their performance at an amateur night, bouncing ideas off of each other and rehearsing their routines to the point that the words threaten to lose all meaning. The personalities and some polished production values help to mask the thin and self-indulgent conceit, with each member of the group coming across as a genuine and kindhearted person, making it easy to root for them.
Their story is punctuated by an impressive array of comedians like Andy Kindler and Marc Maron discussing the art of getting up in front of a crowd to make them laugh. They all offer words of wisdom for Mark, though the biggest point that they all make — about how important it is to do stand-up comedy on a regular basis and how little the first time doing it actually matters — seems to trivialize the entire point of the movie.
The final pay-off at Yuk Yuk's does not disappoint, however, producing varied results that are in some cases surprising and in others downright heartwarming.