CT FILM FEST REVIEW: “Mr. Laughs”

salrules1.jpg I loved “Mr. Laughs: A Look Behind the Curtain” because 25 seconds in Soupy Sales says: “He has more talent in his little finger than he does in his big finger.”

WHEN AND WHERE: Saturday, May 24, 4 p.m. at the Heirloom Arts Theater, 155 Main St.

“Mr. Laughs” is a documentary that takes a look at old-school stand-up comedian Sal Richards, a guy I’ve never heard of, but immediately liked.

He’s a comic who still plays Atlantic City, cracking jokes about the old neighborhood and proudly displaying a Vinnie Boom Bots persona that woulda fit right in on “The Sopranos.”

(Wouldn’t you know it? Sal apparently appeared on the show, according to shots on his Web site. Apparently it never aired.)

Richards is a dying breed — an Italian comic from Brooklyn (a member of the Friar’s Club who probably appeared 19 times on the old “Joe Franklin Show,” I’m sure) who had first hand experience with guys such as Red Buttons and Sid Caesar (both were interviewed for the documentary, along with Jackie Mason, Joy Behar, Jerry Stiller and Jerry Vale(!)).

The doc is full of quotes from family members, which gives it a sort of Christopher Guest mock doc feel — “Sal really is talented!” they keep stressing.

Sal was a guy who kept doing stand-up, even though his electricity was shut off and he had to abandon apartments in the middle of night. Ya can’t help but admire the jabroni.

“Mr. Laughs” is recommended for anyone who grew up near the Jericho Turnpike or spent time in the Catskills in the 70s.

(Sal is also a character actor. He had bit parts in “Fighting Back,” an early 80s-era “Death Wish” knock-off starring Tom Skerritt and “Out for Justice,” Steven Segal’s best worst movie. Here’s a clip of his craft from “Law and Order.”)

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EviYukJVRVk%5D

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