Shane Gillis: Beautiful Dogs (2023)

Shane Gillis: Beautiful Dogs (2023)

Crass and inconsistent comedy delivered with a sense of self-awareness and winning charm



United States of America
Comedy, Documentary
53 min


If America itself was a genre of comedy.

What it's about

Comedian Shane Gillis talks masculinity and America's delusions of grandeur.

The take

Straight to the point and without any overly elaborate set-ups or personal anecdotes, Shane Gillis' Beautiful Dogs is a sort of back-to-basics approach to stand-up comedy that proves surprisingly effective. Over the course of about 50 minutes, Gillis' jokes move smoothly and freely—loose in structure but still clearly centering around very American notions of authority and masculinity (revolving around the military and U.S. history), which the comedian is quick to poke holes in. Gillis' humor is definitely of the lowbrow variety though, and while this in itself isn't a bad thing, a number of his jokes begin to repeat their point to no additional effect, usually relying on low-hanging fruit. Gillis skirts and occasionally dips into offensive territory, which he fully acknowledges. And while some of the stuff in this special is a little tasteless, at least Gillis is sheepishly honest about it.

What stands out

The thing that ultimately makes so much of Gillis' routine work is his easy, everyman delivery. Watching him really is like hanging out with a fratbro-type dude whom everyone nevertheless enjoys having around. Gillis chuckles at practically every one of his own jokes immediately after saying them, which surprisingly only makes things funnier. You get a sense that this is a comedian who fully accepts that his material isn't the most original or groundbreaking stuff in the world, but he just enjoys the act of sharing it with an audience as an equal, as just a guy who likes laughter.


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