What happens when you take two clever comedians, each with successful solo careers, and put them on stage together? In the case of Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Gould, you get 70 minutes of funny, compelling content.
“Joy Ride” is a chronicle of Goldthwait and Gould doing a tour of comedy clubs in the southeast — a venture that almost ended early on when they were involved in a near-fatal car crash. After recovering from their injuries, which included head trauma for Bobcat and broken ribs for Dana, they got back into a rental car with a couple of cameramen who documented their banter during the trip and their dual stage appearances.
As a fan of both comedians, I enjoyed the ride quite a bit. They are both compelling storytellers, each with a comic’s eye for the absurd and a willingness to push boundaries, whether it’s Gould’s routine about a Ku Klux Klan member’s questions about costuming or Goldthwait’s story of being aboard a nosediving airplane with some Special Olympics kids.
They also talk about their similar childhoods, being brought up by fathers whose actions would, in Gould’s words, eventually help him buy his therapist a boat. Goldthwait discusses why he finally stopped playing the outrageous character he personified through the 1980s and 1990s, including the times he wreaked havoc on the sets of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Bobcat also responds to “fans” who unfollowed him on Twitter after learning of his left-leaning political stance: “I used to play in arenas! Millions of people have unfollowed me!”
In recent years, Goldthwait has turned his hand to directing, including this documentary, other indie movies, and some television (I discussed that aspect of his career with him in 2016 — you can listen to that conversation here). Meanwhile, Gould (a two-time Emmy winner and six-time nominee for writing “The Simpsons”) has his own projects, including the series of oddly amusing “Hangin’ With Dr. Z” videos, in which he plays Dr. Zaius from the original “Planet Of The Apes” as a late-night talk show host.
“Joy Ride” is much looser than the Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon “The Trip” movies and includes zero Michael Caine impressions. But having enjoyed both Goldthwait and Gould performing in person, I found it not only true to their personas, but also a lot of fun.
I give it an 8 out of 10. Now available via video on demand.