The Wedding Crashers star hits the road with his Wild West Comedy Show.
It was just over a decade ago that Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, two struggling actors frustrated with their stagnating careers, decided to take matters into their own hands. The result, as most cinephiles know, was Swingers, the indie smash that turned the two relative unknowns into industry players -- and helped launch the careers of Heather Graham, Ron Livingston and director Doug Liman as well.
This week Vaughn hopes to do the same for comedians John Caparulo, Ahmed Ahmed, Bret Ernst and Sebastian Mansicalo with his Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days and 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland. Part concert film, part documentary, Wild West chronicles the highs and lows of a grueling month-long tour Vaughn and pals embarked upon in the summer of 2004.
Vaughn's idea initially sprang out of a handful of live shows he'd performed for charity."I did some for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the response was always good," says Vaughn. "So I thought, 'This would be fun to kind of go on the road.'" Seeing an opportunity to help out his struggling companions, he hatched a plan to take them along and "play a bunch of different places, take a variety comedy show -- which you haven’t seen in awhile -- and go to some folks’ backyards that don’t usually get shows like this."
What began as a lark eventually grew into a full-fledged production, complete with a camera crew and celebrity guests, including Favreau, actor/country singer Dwight Yoakam and Vaughn's Dodgeball co-star Justin Long. But the real stars were funnymen Ahmed, Caparulo, Ernst and Maniscalo. "The underdog story of these guys and their journey in realizing that their comedy came from real life experiences became the most interesting thing," says Vaughn. "It really turned into kind of an event movie where it’s like a road trip."
"It’s a capsule of sort of what was going on at that time," he adds. "It’s an insight into stand-ups that I don’t think you’ve quite seen before, sort of what they go through."
Though his name appeared atop the marquee, leading man Vaughn wasn't afraid to concede the spotlight to the up-and-comers, even if they drew laughs at his expense. "Where I come from in the creative process is: The best idea wins," explains Vaughn. "I don’t need to be right. I don’t need anybody else to be right. I need whatever is right for the movie." Indeed, one of flick's funniest moments occurs when Justin Long, after enduring a barrage of verbal jabs from Vaughn, turns the tables by doing a killer impersonation of Vaughn's Swingers character. "I always knew Justin did a really good imitation of me that was not flattering, that was kind of funny at my expense," he says. "I knew that we could be tough on him at the beginning because he’ll do a good job of making fun of me and that’ll make everyone happy."
Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland opens this Friday, February 8th.