A collection of silly subplots revolves around one night in the life of a black stand-up comedy club in TALKIN' DIRTY AFTER DARK, a low-budget combination farce-performance film that's much better onstage than it is off.
Club owner Dukie Sinclair (John Witherspoon) is trying to strike up more than a business relationship with his top draw, Aretha (Phyllis Yvonne Stickney). Aretha isn't interested, in part because she already has a boyfriend ("Tiny" Lister Jr.), who's very touchy about who touches her and is so
big that his name, in fact, is Bigg. Dukie's wife, Rubie Lin (Jedda Jones), meanwhile is trying to make some outside time of her own with rising stand-up star Terry (Martin Lawrence). When each discovers the other's attempted infidelity, Dukie and Rubie Lin briefly contemplate divorce. But, since
Aretha doesn't want Dukie any more than Terry wants Rubie Lin, it appears they will be stuck with each other. In the other major subplot, club emcee Jackie (Martin Wright-Bey) is trying to impress primly beautiful Kimmie (Rene Jones) on their first date. But threatening to break up the budding
romance is Jackie's two-woman fan club, whose hormonal enthusiasm for their hero knows no bounds. Kimmie shortens her skirt and deepens her cleavage to compete with Jackie's groupies. But she finally finds that the most effective way to get Jackie's undivided attention is by threatening to run his
groupies over with her car. Since no show-biz comedy would be complete without a star being born, pompadoured Percy (Darryl Sivad) steps off the bus and onto the stage to take over for Jackie while he's trying to smooth things with Kimmie.
As should be obvious by this point, the film's plot is really mostly about writer-director Topper Carew trying to shoehorn as many stand-up comics into the action as he can. On that level, at least, TALKIN' DIRTY AFTER DARK works. In their stand-up bits, scattered throughout the film, each comic
manages to make an individual impression. Along the way, what's obvious is the towering influence Richard Pryor remains in each comic's firm focus on the foibles of sex. What's happily missing, however, is the repellent misogyny Eddie Murphy added to the mix, especially in his stunningly unfunny
concert film, RAW. Indeed, what's finally most impressive about the array of comedians in TALKING DIRTY is the seemingly infinite number of ways they find to make sex funny without resorting to meanspirited sexual put-downs.
Less impressive is how stiff and awkward most of the same comics look while trying to breathe life into their ramshackle backstage subplots. In this regard, TALKIN' DIRTY suffers in the same way that most films starring stand-up comedians suffer. Stand-up is unique in that the best comics "play"
themselves when they are performing. As a result, until they've had some experience, most tend to have problems playing someone else when they're not performing. Still, while Carew has not written especially memorable characters for any of his cast, each performance, in its way, is memorable. On
the whole, however, TALKIN' DIRTY would have been more memorable if it had cut back on the backstage nonsense and stuck closer to the stand-up. (Profanity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: A collection of silly subplots revolves around one night in the life of a black stand-up comedy club in TALKIN' DIRTY AFTER DARK, a low-budget combination farce-performance film that's much better onstage than it is off. Club owner Dukie Sinclair (John W… (more)