Building a drama around a stand-up comedian is a risky prospect: there’s always a chance the audience is going to want more of the comedy and less of the soul searching and self-loathing that goes with the job. And they don’t come more redemption-ready than Scots shock comic Joey Frisk (Stephen McCole, pictured), who might be successful if his coke habit, six-year-old daughter and creepy old schoolfriend and stalker Frank (Malcolm Shields) weren’t all getting in the way. First time writer-director Justin Molotnikov sets himself a challenge, juggling a painfully intimate pitch-black character study with a gloomy, claustrophobic genre thriller. It doesn’t all work – the digital photography is bland and the more melodramatic aspects of the plot are unwieldy. But ‘Crying with Laughter’ is an impressive low-budget debut. It builds on McCole’s seedy central performance to create a believable and sympathetic portrait of a bitter, beaten man finding his way back to the world.