For a decade, Chicago’s ALL JOKES ASIDE was the premiere Black Comedy Club in the country giving early exposure to most of the important young comedians including: Bill Bellamy, Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Deon Cole, Earthquake, Mike Epps, Jamie Foxx, Adele Givens, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Bernie Mac, Carlos Mencia, Mo’Nique, Craig Robinson, Chris Rock, JB Smoove, Sheryl Underwood and George Wallace to name a few. Using a mix of stand up and interviews with the comedians who performed there, PHUNNY BUSINESS chronicles the rise and fall of ALL JOKES ASIDE, takes an in-depth look at the man behind it all and salutes the legendary showcase for its contribution to comedy history.
Runtime: 84 minutes
Sound: Dolby SR
Genre: Comedy, Documentary
Directed by: John Davies
Featuring: Cedric the Entertainer, Lori Alexander, Doug Banks, Bill Bellamy, J. Anthony Brown, Dave Chappelle, Deon Cole, Melanie Comarcho, Lavell Crawford, Don ‘D.C.’ Curry, Earthquake, Mike Epps, Jamie Foxx, Chris Gardner, Adele Givens, Steve Harvey, Laura Hayes, D.L. Hughley, A.J. Jamal, Honest John, T.K. Kirkland, Andre Kelly, Tim Kazurinsky, Raymond C. Lambert, Ali LeRoi, Bernie Mac, Jamie Masada, Carlos Mencia, John Ridley, Craig Robinson, Tony Sculfield, J.B. Smoove, Aries Spears, Sheryl Underwood, George Wallace, George Willborn, Damon Williams, Michael Winslow
UBRAN MOVIE CHANNEL licenses documentary Phunny Business: A Black Comedy, featuring comedian Dave Chappelle from Indican Pictures
-ERIK GRUENWEDEL, HOME MEDIA MAGAZINE
“Phunny Business, wittily directed by John Davies…isn’t content with mere plaudits; it’s full of history and context and has a sense of humor befitting its subject matter.”
-NEIL GENZLINGER , THE NEW YORK TIMES
“A wonderfully entertaining documentary about the club where it all began for many of today’s top comic talents. The shared proving ground for a generation of great black comic entertainers is giddily illuminated in Phunny Business: A Black Comedy, a fast-talking, sharp-witted documentary about a black-owned Chicago comedy club of the 1990s.”
-TODD MCCARTHY, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“This is one documentary that comedy fans won’t want to miss.”
“Phunny Business is a breezy, vivid, funny, star-studded and delightful valentine to comedy, entrepreneurship and the All-American impulse to make something out of nothing. The story of comedy club owner/inveterate dreamer Raymond Lambert and his heroic quest to create a safe, productive place for black stand-up comedians to hone their craft and find their voices isn’t just a great Chicago story and a great comedy story: it’s a flat-out great story, lovingly and engagingly told.”
-NATHAN RABIN, HEAD WRITER, THE ONION/A.V CLUB
“It’s a very valuable record of a Chicago institution. Skillfully directed and written, it takes you on a journey of an idea, a niche being filled and eager audiences too long overlooked and of visionaries whose dreams came true.”
-JEFFREY LYONS, LYONS DEN RADIO
“PHUNNY BUSINESS is a gem! A funny, insightful, honest knockout winner of a film about the serious business of comedy. A film that’s an absolute must see movie. Four stars!”
-SERGIO MIMS, EBONYJET Online
(one of) “the best documentaries of the year”
-ROGER EBERT, ROGEREBERT.COM
“This is an invaluable look back at an all-too-brief but shining and important moment in the history of comedy. A fast-paced and hugely entertaining documentary about the legendary All Jokes Aside comedy club in Chicago. Filled with laughs but also somewhat bittersweet, as we see how this iconic club was allowed to die prematurely.”
-RICHARD ROEPER, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“The heartwarming and ultimately heartbreaking hidden history of south side Chicago’s premiere Black comedy club. Inspirational, motivational, hilarious.”
-DAVID RENSIN, Author and contributing editor PLAYBOY
“Here is one of the most thrilling—and, yes, important—chapters in the history of American Comedy that all but escaped attention (how????) until now. Who knew that near the heart of downtown Chicago—less than a handful of miles to the south of revered improv-launch pad Second City—a revolution had arisen and given birth to legends and lessons that would shape the direction of all forthcoming funny business—er, I mean, PHUNNY BUSINESS. This gorgeous film makes it all visceral and indelible in ways you are unlikely to forget. Because we damn well better not forget, not ever again.” -BILL ZEHME, ROLLING STONE BOOK OF COMEDY
“Great film, very compelling story.”
-MATT KETTMANN, SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT
“Heartfelt and hilarious throughout. It is so well put together and like any good comedy, the timing is spot on.”
-MARK KIRKLAND, Director – THE SIMPSONS
Chicago Reader reviews Phunny Business
Billy O’Keefe reviews Phunny Business
Phunny Business selected to screen at theFriars Club Comedy Film Festival.
Huffington Post reviews Phunny Business.
Roger Ebert reviews Phunny Business.
Phunny Business selected to screen at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.
Christopher Wetzel Award for Independent Film Comedy.
Hollywood Reporter reviews Phunny Business.
EbonyJet’s interview with Raymond Lambert.
Filmworkers, Vitamin, Chicago Recording Involved in “Phunny Business” - Millimeter
Santa Barbara Independent interviews Director/Producer, John Davies and
Producer/Co-Founder of All Jokes Aside, Raymond Lambert. Phunny Business: A Black Comedy
“Phunny Business” listed in Santa Barbara Independent’s 41 films to see!
Article in REEL CHICAGO by Ruth L Ratny
Gapers Block interview with Raymond Lambert.
‘Phunny Business’: Retelling History with Archival Footage - Videography.com
“…salutes the legendary showcase for its contribution to comedy history.”
Still Blonde After All These Years!