Death be not proud, unless you're a comedian. Bombing onstage gets treated like a badge of honor in "Dying Laughing," a documentary that explores the downside to stand-up comedy, from swatting aside hecklers to confronting the ultimate enemy, a canyon of silence.
"Comedy," says Jerry Seinfeld, "is purely a result of your ability to withstand self-torture."
Premiering February 24, the film chronicles life on the club circuit with insights from A-list comics like Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer as well as the legendary Jerry Lewis and the late Garry Shandling.
Despite the inevitable career lows—Silverman emits a long whistle that sounds like a plummeting bomb—the comedians insist the momentary pain of failure is the price you pay for the ultimate reward.
"That laugh is better than any trophy," says Seinfeld. "That's what I live for."