Die Laughing
Directed by: Bob Golub
Starring: Bob Golub, Mike Ivy, Sarah Rosenberg, Randy Lubas
1 hr. 19 min.

Meet Bob Golub. Meet Bob Golub. No, this is not a misprint. There are two Bob Golubs — one a comedian, known as the Polish Madman, and the other a film version of a standup comic and serial killer. Which one is the real Bob?

In his new independent film Die Laughing, they’re actually the same man. Golub directs and writes this horror comedy, and also serves in the lead role. He even uses some of his standup comedy video as part of the story.

How did these two Bobs happen to end up in the same film? According to Golub, some of the story was based on his real-life experience.

Golub made a living doing standup in casinos. It kept a paycheck coming in while he was shooting a documentary. Evidently, an unnamed culprit moved in on Golub and took his casino jobs.

“I was in the process of doing a documentary based on my father,” Golub explained. “In between that time, someone took all my standup work. Literally, I had no work and I had three kids. I got a house payment. And so I wanted to take the guy out.”

The result?

“I had to take all that energy and put it into a film,” said Golub. “And by the way, when he found out he made a mistake, he didn’t rectify it, and he could have.”

All the more reason for Golub’s revenge. Filmwise, that is.

Golub has acting credits in movies like Goodfellas and Art School Confidential. He also has a face and a manner that seem New Yorkish, though he comes from Pennsylvania. He’s tough. He’s funny. He’s a guy who looks as if he might have a piece in his pocket. As one casino headline in the movie stated: “Bob Golub: Comedy at the Edge.” “Edge” as in standing on the tip of a canyon by your heels and daring yourself to jump.

In Die Laughing, a documentary filmmaker advertises on Craigslist that he wants to find someone who has committed murder. Golub, hiding his face under a bad wig, answers the ad and proceeds to take the documentary director on the ride of his life. Through Los Angeles, Laughlin, Las Vegas, even the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club, with co-owner Randy Lubas as one of the actors.

People die in this film. Brutally. Necks snapped. Bodies beaten. And you don’t want to know what he does with a mic stand. Is this a comedy? Sometimes . . . if you don’t mind following the desert highways of a serial killer comedian. Think David Lynch with a mafioso attitude.

“I wanted to explore a dark side of comedy that no one’s ever done,” said Golub. He refers to Robin Williams, who committed suicide, and clean-cut Bill Cosby, now in the middle of a legal mess regarding pills, women and sex. No one could have guessed their personal darkness.

Questioning our capabilities of committing acts like murder, Golub refers to the attitude of his lead character. “His idea and philosophy is, I’m taking out people that hurt me or are getting in my way.”

Given this country’s obsession with guns, the film’s Bob Golub sounds downright American.

You get the feeling that the line between reality and entertainment is blurred in this film, and you must ask yourself: What’s real, what’s not? It seems that Golub himself wants to blur that line and plant a seed of doubt in your head.

“I thought, why not show a side of comedy that they haven’t seen?” he observed. “Not that comedians are out there killing people, but there is one now. Bob Golub.”

As to whether Golub might take you out if you cross him, I suggest you behave yourself at the film screening, to be held this weekend at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club as part of the Ventura Comedy Festival. He’s a funny guy, but he’s watching you. No funny business (if you’ll pardon the pun) lest you end up taking a long ride into the desert. It might happen. Just ask the film’s documentary director. That is, if you can find him.

Die Laughing will be shown Saturday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club, 1559 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura. A Q&A with Golub will follow. For more information, call 644-1500 or visit venturaharborcomedyclub.com.