The Raunchy Comedy Way Ahead Of The Bear Serves Lots Of Laughs

By Robert Scucci | Published

  • A raunchy comedy version of The Bear is streaming online.
  • Waiting, starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris, is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
  • Critically panned, Waiting nevertheless made boatloads of money at the box office.

Any current or former hospitality worker will be quick to tell you how startlingly accurate The Bear is in depicting the high levels of stress found in the world of fine dining. While The Bear elicits a healthy amount of laughter by highlighting the dark side of working at a restaurant, it also goes heavy by leaning into its more dramatic elements as its principal characters push themselves to their personal limits. If you’re looking for a lighter take on the inner workings of the food and beverage industry, then 2005’s Waiting is the film for you because it won’t give you a panic attack.

The Restaurant Answer To Office Space


Not unlike Office Space, Waiting is a workplace comedy that places emphasis on the kind of existential dread that can be found on the job, but without leaving you with a feeling of unease upon its conclusion. Using gross-out gags as its primary vehicle to deliver humor, Waiting takes place at a casual dining establishment called Shenaniganz. You’ll notice that the dynamic between front-of-house and back-of-house is similar to The Bear when it comes to interpersonal conflicts, but the characters are built differently in this movie and have strange penchant for full frontal male nudity.

It Will Make You Want To Eat Out A Lot Less


If you’re wondering what kind of vibe Shenaniganz is going for, all you need to do is pop into a chain restaurant like Chili’s or Bennigan’s to get a feel for the kind of atmosphere found in Waiting. In this setting, line cooks defile food when customers send their plates back to be corrected, but only before running into the dining room to sing “Happy Birthday” as a means to humiliate their younger clientele in front of other patrons. We are quickly introduced to the concept of the “Penis Showing Game,” and other antics that the back-of-house employees subject themselves to as a means to pass the time.

The Shenaniganz Staff

Waiting first introduces us to Dean (Justin Long), a down and out server working at Shenaniganz who wants to move onto bigger and better things despite his unwillingness to put in any of the required effort to improve his life. Though his whining is apparent (and kind of annoying) from the film’s outset, it’s a necessary character trait because it functions as a springboard for the supporting characters to bounce jokes off of. Dean works alongside Monty (Ryan Reynolds), who is generally happy with his station in life, and actually loves his job at Shenaniganz.

Each colorful character in Waiting has their own set of idiosyncrasies that drive the story while driving Dean insane because he’d rather mope about his situation, which is no different than anybody else’s situation. But the camaraderie found among the Shenaniganz staff is what ultimately helps Dean figure out his life because they’re all friends trying to make the best of their double shifts.

Training Mitch

A number of scenes in Waiting are set up through training videos that new employees have to watch before their first shift. The videos show the new employee, Mitch, how to actually do his job while the events that play out during actual service hours show employees behaving the exact opposite way they’re supposed to. While the training tapes highlight the quality of the food, the scene immediately cuts to cooks throwing food into microwaves, resulting in a number of hilarious contradictions between the ideal way a chain restaurant should operate versus how it actually operates.

Waiting Made Money But It’s Still Waiting To Impress Critics

Waiting was a commercial success, earning back over six times its reported budget of $3 million upon its 2005 theatrical release. But it’s the ratio between Waiting’s critical and audience reception that’s telling. Earning only a 30 percent critical score, this occupational comedy landed a disproportionately high audience score of 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

In other words, although critics weren’t necessarily fond of the over-the-top gross-out humor found in Waiting, restaurant workers absolutely loved this movie. If you’ve never had the displeasure of cleaning an entire commercial kitchen from top to bottom, only to have a customer come in two minutes before closing, you may not appreciate the movie like somebody who has actually lived through such a harrowing experience.

Whether you’ve moved onto a different career path and feel nostalgic, or still find yourself elbow deep at the dish washing station after closing out service, watching Waiting on Amazon Prime is a great way to celebrate the restaurant industry without having to get too introspective.