Perhaps it’s no surprise that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic—in late spring of 2020 when every day felt like the apocalypse—the question on the minds of filmmakers Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones was: “How will it all end?”
They attempted to answer that in their 2020 oddball comedy, How It Ends, which was released on digital and in select theaters today, after premiering virtually at Sundance Film Festival in January. It’s a delightfully quirky little film, starring Lister-Jones (who also co-wrote and co-directed the film with Wein) as a woman named Liza who is trying to make amends with the people in her life before a meteor strikes and obliterates the earth. Liza, along with the metaphysical representation of her younger self (played by Cailee Spaeny), wanders around Los Angeles. Through a series of amusing vignettes often featuring a familiar face—like Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Nick Kroll, and Bradley Whitford, just to name a few—we meet a collection of colorful characters, none of whom seem particularly concerned about the impending apocalypse. But the best scene in the film is the one between Lister-Jones and comedian Lamorne Morris.
Anyone who’s seen an episode of New Girl—aka anyone with taste—knows that Morris—aka Winston Bishop—is one of the funniest working actors out there. He once again proves that in How It Ends, in just one scene that lasts less than three minutes. Morris plays Liza’s ex-boyfriend Larry, whom she describes as “garbage, and I loved him.”
Liza decides to show up outside of Larry’s door on the eve of the apocalypse to tell him off for not appreciating her while they were dating. On her way over, she finds a broken boombox and decides to use it as a prop, Say Anything style. After she unintentionally quotes “You Oughtta Know,” to him, Morris responds, “I hear you. I hear everything that you’re saying. Because there’s nothing coming out of those speakers.”
It’s just one of many hilarious lines that Morris delivers with his specific brand of fumbling, staccato, humor. Something about his timing is so perfectly suited to a man who is absolutely making this up as he goes along, and he knows he’s failing spectacularly, but he keeps going anyhow. Other favorite lines include:
- “Those bright-ass lips, you’ve been eating something red.”
- “I did cheat on you, seven times.”
- “You don’t like to play with my butt, and they do, and that’s fine, because that’s not what you’re into.”
- “You don’t travel on the brown line, and that’s one of my main forms of transportation.”
- “That was an amalgam of lyrics from multiple songs”
As it turns out, Liza is not the only woman who stopped by to yell at Larry before the world ends. Larry’s attempts to “hear them out” are transparently insincere, as he stumbles over himself to agree with everything Liza says in order to get her to leave.
“You’re just repeating things I say,” Liza accuses him.
Larry clicks his tongue and shakes his head sympathetically. “Ain’t that like me? To just repeat things you say?”
It’s unclear how much of this scene was scripted and how much was improvised, but Morris and Lister-Jones make for a brilliant comedic duo. Her incredulity feeds off his increasingly ridiculous bullshit, like when he passionately declares, “It’s all of us, really, we gotta stand together as a people, and we gotta say, ‘NO!’”
“To what?!” Liza responds, bewildered.
It’s a shame the scene is so brief because I could have watched a full movie about the saga of Liza and Larry. There are other high points in the film, including a few special surprises for fans of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and arguably the best Timothée Chalamet joke of the year. But Morris manages to steal the show with about two minutes of his signature brand of hilarity. Can we get this guy his own comedy to star in already?
Where to watch How It Ends (2021)