Cheryl Laesen is doing a documentary on stand-up comedy. Her subject, Rich Burns is a likable, up and coming comedian. His opening act, Sean Payne is not. Rich and Sean have vastly different ideas about "making it" as a comedian. It Burns When I Laugh, follows Rich and Sean on the road, to document the life of an average comic trying to make it. Rich and Sean may be average guys, but the barrage of people they meet at all the comedy clubs and one-niters are anything but: drunk fans, egotistical club owners, psychotic bartenders, ditsy waitresses, non-supportive relatives and trash talking newcomers.