Looks like Benny Hartman will have the last laugh after all. Even though he's been dead for several months, the legendary comedian's final request of equally legendary Steve Allen, namely, the Benny Hartman Memorial Comedy Awards program (a shower of bronze statuettes capped by a onetime million-dollar prize to the Funniest Person Alive), is lurching toward broadcast--pulling in its wake not only harried Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows, but several colder and stiffer victims--from semiretired comic actor Terry Parker to Funniest hopeful Billy D'Amato--all of them stabbed with knives that Steve and Jayne had given as presents to Benny years before. While Steve and Jayne are pondering the meaning of Terry's cryptic last message, ``Ham,'' and trying to stay one jump ahead of the suspicious cops, news comes that Benny may be laughing even harder than anybody thought, since, like Elvis, he's been spotted around L.A. by several of the suspects. And let's not forget the even wilder tangents--the Yale drama prof whose car comes crashing into a session of the Funniest judges, the aging Mafioso who does his old friend Steve one fatal last favor--that will prevent you from taking this farrago of murder, malice, vengeance, family skeletons, resurrected corpses, and really bad jokes too seriously. Allen's kitchen-sink plotting keeps your eyes bulging, though fans expecting anything like the tidy solution of Wake Up to Murder (1996) will find that the last laugh's on them.