Docucomedy uses comic material presented in a documentary style, usually a report on a particular theme, issue, or event. With the rise of online streaming platforms, documentaries are getting quite popular. In fact, now more and more people are getting attached to real-life events and their outcomes. However, when it comes to docucomedy, the main aim is to present a documentary in a fun and light way. 

Although this genre is not very common as yet but Jeffrey James Binney has added a masterpiece to it with his movie, ‘Once Is Enough’. The movie is about himself as a thirty-two-year-old chubby ginger comedian and vegan son-of-a-pig-farmer who sets out to avoid the same fate as his mother. He decides to participate in the world’s most challenging 100-mile Leadville ultramarathons and starts training for it. But, Binney is now telling jokes about his experience and why he couldn’t complete it.

Jeffrey James Binney is a Salt Lake City-based actor, singer, comedian, motivational speaker, and athlete. Binney grew up on a farm in Laredo, Missouri, and then moved to Brooklyn, New York, soon after he got his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Missouri State University. He has been on the Late Night With David Letterman show as well as in the 1st National Tour and Chicago Company of the Broadway musical. This is not all! He appeared in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and at various comedy clubs and festivals across the country. 

As far as his film is concerned, ‘Once Is Enough’ includes his training and race with snippets from friends and family who share stories about Jeffrey Binney’s childhood and how he was not at all athletic as a kid. What sets the movie apart is that the documentary is packed with inserts from his stand-up comedy gigs. The set for his stand-up comedy performances is of a living room style with a couch and a side table with an amp. Apart from that, there is a piano on the side and his posters and pictures adorn the wall.  

Narrating his life story, Binney talks about his close relationship with his mother, his childhood as a chubby funny best friend, his mother’s illness due to obesity, and the motivation to lose weight - all in a light, comic manner. 

‘Once Is Enough’ talks about his decision to join the 100-mile ultramarathon, getting in touch with record holder coach and trainer Ian Sharman, and his hard work and determination to do the impossible. He shares stories and his experiences about the ultramarathon being one of the most difficult 100-milers, running through the heart of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Along with that, it’s the story and history of the town he was running through that fascinated him; its energy made him more motivated. 

It was a 30-hour ultramarathon that he needed to complete within the time. If he couldn’t do that, he wouldn’t finish at all. More than that, there were eight stations where he had to check-in at a designated time, so each station’s reaching time would count. This meant no sleeping, no naps, no time to relax.

The movie also captures the actual race from the start till the end. The station check-ins, reaching before the cut-off times, his friends and family awaiting him there, hoping that he makes it on time; it’s all a riveting and emotional experience. While the movie has his ultramarathon running experience, his segments from stand-up comedy lighten up the mood. His jokes about an overweight guy deciding to participate in one of the most difficult ultramarathons, his digestive system, his blisters and, not to forget his toned calves will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face. 

Being a comedian helped Jeffrey James Binney during the docucomedy. His routine is funny and authentic, while his storytelling is professional and effortless. Much of his jokes are from his personal experiences, so they are heartfelt. He also discusses his strenuous training lightly with his humor making it seem so natural. Binney has the ability to turn his weaknesses into his strengths. 

‘Once Is Enough’ is a lighthearted docucomedy that will not just make you laugh but will also inspire you to the core. Binney went through something extreme and seemingly impossible just for the sake of his health and has turned his life into an inspiration for the rest of us. And, he didn’t do that in a way that will give you sleepless nights. In fact, using his sense of humor, he has turned it into a fun journey which is extremely important as well. 

The next time we think of the hardships of training, we should remember Jeffrey James Binney and understand nothing is impossible. Let’s just take inspiration from the quote by Mae West that he has been fascinated his entire life, “You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough.”


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