Standing Up – Season 1 Episode 1 “Give Us a Laugh!” Recap & Review

Give Us a Laugh!

Episode 1 of Standing Up (Drôle) begins in Paris, with young comedians Nezir and Aïssatou heading to the Drôle comedy club, owned by fellow comic Bling.

They are all struggling with something different. Nezir is fighting to earn enough money to support himself and his disabled father. Aïssa can’t get enough people to come to her shows. Bling hasn’t performed in months for lack of new material.

Bling’s producer, Laurent, shows up to the club unexpectedly. He insists that he perform, so Bling bumps Nezir from the line-up.

Panicked about getting on stage again, Bling takes a drug and snorts it in the bathroom. He goes on after Aïssa, who does an amazing act about her boyfriend. 

But when Bling follows her, he falters. When someone heckles him from the crowd, he has a breakdown on stage.

Nezir meets Apolline, who was in the audience. She asks when he next performs, and she promises she’ll be there tomorrow night to see him.

At home, Nezir’s dad tells him he’s not considered disabled enough to receive benefits. They go over their collective income, and Nezir can’t see how they will be able to survive on the low salary.

Bling holes up in his house after his bombed performance until Corinne urges him out of bed. She says he’s not okay and implies that he needs help. He then gets a voice message from Laurent, who tells him he’s decided to stop booking him.

Aïssa, on the other hand, is getting amazing publicity. But Nezir worries that her boyfriend, Vlad, won’t appreciate her jokes about him.

Nezir gets rejection after rejection to job applications. Finally, his cousin offers him a job at a hotel, but the hours would conflict with his stand-up. He accepts the job and tells Corinne that he can’t perform after tonight.

Nezir has a successful act. He’s pleased to see Apolline in the audience, but upset to see her with another guy afterwards.

Bling loves Nezir’s comedy so much that he asks him to write his sketches for him. Although Nezir initially declines, he eventually agrees to 90 euros an hour for the job.

Back at Aïssa’s house, Vlad is angry at her for humiliating him onstage. He can’t stand the thought of people making fun of him. She promises to delete her act from social media, but when she goes to check it, she finds that it has gone viral.

The episode ends with Aïssa joyfully laughing at her newfound success.

The Episode Review

From the creator of Call my Agent, the French show Standing Up adds some comedic flair to Netflix’s March line-up.

Reflecting the real diversity of France’s stand-up scene, episode 1 of Standing Up strikes the perfect balance in its depiction of amateur comedy. The comics’ raw talent believably lacks a refined polish, but remains engaging for viewers.

While some jokes feel like they were lost in translation in the English-subtitling process, the episode doesn’t fail to draw our eyes to the Parisian comedy milieu and its unique performers. And Younès Boucif, Mariama Gueye, and Jean Siuen own their characters, elevating a slightly lacklustre script with exceptional, idiosyncratic performances.

With its distinctive tone and style, Standing Up’s premier offers a fast-paced and compelling introduction to the world of French stand-up.

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You can read our full season review of Standing Up here!

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