Runtime: 88 minutes
Director: Roy Tighe
By Morgan Roberts
When you get fifteen minutes into this documentary, you wonder, why in the world would anyone give Richard Lett a platform? Lett has been dubbed the “Canadian George Carlin.” His comedy – if you can call it that – was demeaning, tactless, and truly reprehensible.
I had never heard of Lett before. My introduction to him was him degrading women, harassing his audience, and at one point, performed a horrendous song called the “Ballad of Robert Pickton” – Pickton was a serial killer in Canada who murder 50 women, most of them sex workers. I have watched awful “comedy” before but have never seen anything so reprehensible in my life.
Lett claimed that political correctness is killing comedy. But I think tactlessness is what ruins it more. Carlin always said the underdogs were off limits. He once said, “Comedy has traditionally picked on people in power, people who abuse their power.” Instead, Lett attacks underdog populations. He is a misogynist. He is racist. He is a bully.
“What director Roy Tighe does well with this film is not try to make some story about “Canada’s George Carlin.” Instead he made a film about a fallen-from-grace comedian, who struggles with his addictions.”
On top of it, Lett struggles, HEAVILY, with substance abuse. Lett takes no accountability for the failures in his life. All of the bad things in his life – unemployment, failed relationships, homelessness – are always due to someone else. It is everyone else who has a problem. Truly gobsmacking that anyone remains in his life when he is so abusive, selfish, and at times, manipulative.
What director Roy Tighe does well with this film is not try to make some story about “Canada’s George Carlin.” Instead he made a film about a fallen-from-grace comedian, who struggles with his addictions. Not only is his comedy loathsome, but many times, so is the man behind the comedy. He was not a good person; there are many times it feels as if you have to grasp for straws to even find one redeemable aspect of his personality.
“Never Be Done” did not start off as a story of redemption, but that is where we ended up.”
But about halfway through, the film takes a hard shift, like Lett. Tighe takes us on Lett’s journey to rock bottom, and shows as he goes to treatment for his addictions. Lett finally learns to take accountability for his actions. We see him enter sobriety and what that does for his life. You see him regain his life to be more than just fueled by anger and pissing people off. At one point, Lett says, “I had to get well so I could talk about being sick.”
Seeing where Lett was and the more current part of his story feels like seeing two different people. Now, Lett is back to performing comedy and poetry. He sponsors other recovering addicts in the same program which saved him. “Never Be Done” did not start off as a story of redemption, but that is where we ended up. Lett went from spewing vile remarks and calling it comedy, to using comedy and poetry as art to maybe help someone else on their own journey of struggles and obstacles.
I started this film utterly offended and taken aback. Yet, I ended it knowing all the pain and obstacles Lett overcame to see the man at the end of the film, full of hope and kindness and strength.
“Never Be Done” is currently on VoD and can be rented via. Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Movies, AppleTV, Google Play, Vimeo, Microsoft XBOX, Direct TV, Breaker, Comcast, Cox Communications, Dish and Xfinity.