The Machine: The High-Stakes Entrance of Stand-up Comedy into Hollywood
Date Posted:June 1, 2023
Comedy-lovers and stand-up fans had a novel treat this past Memorial Day weekend as Bert Kreischer's new movie "The Machine" premiered in theaters, setting the comedy news cycle abuzz. This live comedy adaptation, based on the real-life escapades of Kreischer, came with high stakes, its success or failure potentially influencing future stand-up comedians' venture into creating blockbuster hits with substantial studio budgets or remaining under the thumb of the traditional Hollywood system and its inherent industry censorship.
Despite this pressure, an intriguing divide emerged amongst comedy enthusiasts regarding the reception of "The Machine." Bert's fan base and admirers of stand-up comedians rallied in hope of the movie's success, while a small faction seemed to eagerly anticipate a flop. Burning questions revolve around this movie release: What went down at the premiere? Are any sequels in the pipeline? And, most importantly, was the movie financially successful?
The premiere mirrored the vivacious and quirky spirit Bert Kreischer embodies in his stand-up comedy routines. It was a grand festivity featuring guests ranging from celebrities like Snoop Dogg, athletes, comedians like Jim Jefferies and Tom Segura, and even porn stars. Tom Segura's surprise appearance on the red carpet after initially declining the invitation added an extra layer of excitement to the event.
The Premiere and Financial Outlook: Exploring the Success Metrics of "The Machine"
The budget for "The Machine" reportedly ranged between 20 and 35 million dollars. The movie, primarily viewed in the U.S., didn't recoup Sony's entire budget during its opening weekend, earning about 5 million dollars from the 2409 theaters. However, in the context of stand-up comedians transitioning to the big screen, this doesn't necessarily label the movie as a flop.
To illustrate this point, consider the new star-studded Nike movie "Air" that had a 90 million dollar budget and didn't break even at the box office, despite its worldwide appeal and ensemble cast featuring big names like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Tucker, and Jason Bateman. However, with a strategic move to Hulu, "Air" is set to reach a whole new demographic.
A similar fate seems to await "The Machine." Anticipating the growing relevance of streaming services, Sony's likely strategy might be to have a limited theater run, followed by a launch on a well-known streaming service, thus opening avenues for the movie to continue generating revenue post-theater release.
The Future of Stand-Up Comedians in the Movie Industry: A Trend Set in Motion
This approach does not dampen the prospects for stand-up comedians in the movie industry. Sebastian Maniscalco's new movie, "About My Father," featuring Robert De Niro, is now in theaters, proving that the trend of comedians headlining major films is far from waning.
This spirit of self-production extends beyond live comedy shows and movie screens. Comedians are diversifying their portfolios, producing specials, sketch shows, movies, and even books. Tom Segura, Joey Diaz, and Tim Dillon are prime examples of comics charting their unique trajectories. Tim's new book, "Death by Boomers: How the Worst Generation Destroyed the Planet, But First a Child," available for pre-order, is an anticipation-building testament to this trend.
As comedy tickets continue to sell and stand-up comedy maintains its popularity, the emergence of "The Machine" signifies a hopeful shift in stand-up comedians' role in the entertainment industry. Whether these comic-tuned actors find more success in theaters or on streaming platforms remains to be seen, but it's an exciting development for stand-up comedy enthusiasts worldwide.
Tim Dillon's New Book: A Stand-up Comic's Critique of the Boomer Generation
With live comedy stages becoming a stepping stone towards literature, stand-up comedian Tim Dillon has just launched his new book, "Death by Boomers: How the Worst Generation Destroyed the Planet, But First a Child." Currently available for pre-order online, the book offers a hilarious and biting critique of the baby boomer generation.
Tim, known for his acerbic wit and unfiltered commentary, offers a comedic take on is own life experiences growing up under the parenting style of this generation. The book delves into his unconventional upbringing and transformation into the person he is today, a journey marked by his closeted gay experiences, addiction struggles, and late entry into the financial world at the age of 36. This autobiographical narrative offers an insightful, yet humorous critique of the Boomers, presenting them as proud, self-righteous individuals known for their entitlement and complaints about mundane inconveniences like mall traffic and grocery store lines.
Through this memoir, Dillon takes his readers on a nostalgic journey into suburban America, once ruled by the Boomers - the kings and queens of drive-throughs. Characterized now as a tribe of Facebook warriors, the stand-up comedian uses his signature sarcasm to encapsulate their transformation and enduring impact. Walking down a street in Long Island, one can almost hear the faint echoes of their perennial discontent, a testament to their enduring legacy.
Stand-up Comedy Evolves: Comedians Expand their Creative Horizons
The book has been long-awaited by comedy fans, who can now rejoice as stand-up comedians like Tim Dillon and Joey Diaz bring their life stories to the written format. Capturing the essence of live comedy and stand-up routines, this book offers a new avenue for fans to engage with their favorite comics, reflecting a trend of comedians expanding their reach beyond comedy tickets and stand-up shows.
As the excitement builds around Dillon's book release, fans can look forward to more insights and reviews that will emerge once the copies start arriving. The vibrant world of stand-up comedy continues to evolve and grow, presenting new platforms for comedians to showcase their talent, and "Death by Boomers" is the latest addition to this ever-expanding universe.
Rolling Credits: Who appeared on comedy podcasts this week?
Some of the clips used in this video are from these comedy podcasts:
Harland Highway hosted by Harland Williams with guest Howie Mandel
Blocks hosted by Neal Brennan with guest Pete Holmes
New(-ish) stand-up comedy specials out recently include:
I'm an Entertainer by Wanda Sykes on Netflix
Say I Won't by Anjelah Johnson Reyes on YouTube
Pack a Lunch by Dave Stone on YouTube