'LOL: Last One Laughing' Proves the Strength of Canadian Comedy

Hosted by Jay Baruchel

Starring Debra DiGiovanni, Dave Foley, Tom Green, Jon Lajoie, Mae Martin, Colin Mochrie, Brandon Ash Mohammed, Andrew Phung, Caroline Rhea, K. Trevor Wilson

BY Rachel HoPublished Feb 18, 2022

Adapted from a Japanese series, LOL: Last One Laughing has seen adaptations in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, India and Brazil, and now it has finally landed on our Canadian shores. The concept is simple: bring together 10 hilarious people for six hours in a room, and the last one to laugh wins (with the winner given $100,000 to their charity of choice). The Amazon Prime original series finds the centre of the Venn diagram between reality TV, gameshow, sketch comedy and standup — and it's a delight. 

Hosted by Jay Baruchel, LOL brings together some of the best comedic talent across the country. Seasoned veterans like Dave Foley, Tom Green, Colin Mochrie and Caroline Rhea lend esteem to the proceedings, while newer faces like Brandon Ash Mohammed and Mae Martin keep the show fresh. And to round out the cast are well-known comedians, including internet and The League sensation Jon Lajoie, Andrew Phung of Kim's Convenience, Letterkenny's K. Trevor Wilson, and Juno Award-nominated standup Debra DiGiovanni (fellow millennials may also remember DiGiovanni as a judge on MuchMusic's classic show Video on Trial). 

Each of the comedians plays to their strengths: Green and Lajoie pick up some instruments, Martin dips into her UK connection, and of course Mochrie is king of the improv sketch. Given their varying ages and backgrounds, they all have a pretty good chemistry with one another and it's enjoyable to see all their personalities interacting together. (For any fans of the '80s and '90s Canadian comedy scene, it's a particular treat to see Foley and Mochrie hanging out).

LOL takes place in a solitary room filled with props, instruments and food, as well as a control room where Baruchel and eliminated contestants watch on. Cameras are placed all over, leaving little room for our comedians to hide. The show follows a soccer format (as Baruchel cheekily points out, Canada's favourite pastime), with yellow cards handed out for the first laughing/smiling infraction, and a red card for elimination.

Interviews with each comedian are spliced throughout the show offering insight into what they were thinking in the moment. Given that their aim throughout the show is to not laugh, these talking heads are great additions. The control room with Baruchel and those who dared laugh is also a nice touch — hearing their reactions is good fun and adds to the comedy.

The main room resembles a house party filled with acquaintances and strangers. The beginning moments are a little awkward, a little cringe-y, but eventually everyone settles in — and that's when the fun starts. The challenge for a TV show is holding an audience's attention long enough to keep going past the initial cringe-y episodes. And, in fact, releasing all of the episodes at once rather than a staggered drop might have been a good idea. But if audiences are able to stick around for the entirety of the series, they'll be in for some great laughs and a genuinely fun show.

Perhaps I'm biased, but Canada is an obvious landing spot for the LOL format. The country has a solid reputation for producing some of the best comedic talent, and mixed in with the lack of ego these performers have, the show works well with our homegrown stars.
(Prime Video)

Latest Coverage