Misery Loves Comedy
R2 - United Kingdom - Spectrum
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (26th October 2015).
The Film

We all like and admire our own favourite Ďbrandsí of comedian but have you ever stopped and asked yourself why they are so funny and how did they get to be like that? Itís not as if the job of comedian has a straight forward career path like, say, a bank manager or a nurse.

This documentary seeks to ask some of the top fifty comedians in the World these and other questions and they answers they give are illuminating indeed. The comedian is often looked upon as confident, witty and astute but as comedian after comedian shows, often this can be far from the truth. Director Kevin Pollack has interviewed and documented interviews with comedians such as Jimmy Fallon, Martin Short, Tom Hanks, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Coogan, Stephen Merchant plus many, many more on questions such as ĎDo you think emotionally questionable people are drawn to stand up/performingí.

If this sounds all a bit deep well, thatís because it actually is. Sure many of the anecdotes are genuinely funny and laugh out loud but much of what is explored is extremely personnel. None more so than Freddie Prinze Jr talking about his comedian Father whom, Freddy Jr relates, cheated on his Mother with what seemed to be all the women in Los Angeles but then killed himself. The notion of addiction crops up more than once but itís the addiction to the spotlight, the laughs and the need to feel the audiences love that dominates rather than drugs, alcohol or sex. This is a Ďtalking headsí documentary and therefore itís pretty much ninety minutes straight of people talking to the camera. Our host and Director stays completely off screen and itís actually a film you could Ďwatchí with your eyes closed and not miss a thing.

What this ninety minutes finally boils down to is that comedians are as fucked up and have as much misery as anyone else in the world but they have the genius, and more importantly, the bravery and honesty to bare their souls in front of strangers and have people laugh at them. But what becomes clear as the documentary progresses is how cathartic the whole process is and that for the comedians itís an important way for them to get a jolt of relief as they know that any audience that laughs at their comedy is identifying with it.

Watching comedy can be a great way of relieving the stresses and turmoil of the average, soul sucking day but what Director Pollack has discovered is that performing comedy is just as effective. If you are brave enough.

Video

Presented anamorphically at 1.85:1, the picture is pretty immaculate without any hints of imperfections. Colours are bright and vibrant and the blacks are very deep. As this is a new film I would expect no less but itís nice to see the care taken with a film which will, probably, have a limited appeal.

Audio

The viewer is presented with two options; English Dolby Digital 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. To be honest there is not much to choose between the two. The background music/theme only appears at the very start and the very end of the film. In between it is simply a case of listening to one person speaking and that voice is generated solely through the centre speaker. It really does not matter what option you choose, they are both perfectly acceptable. There are no subtitles available on the disc.

Extras

Deleted Scenes:
- Freddie Prinze Jr (3:36)
- Kelly Carlin (2:55)
- Jimmy Fallon (4:36)
- Kevin Smith (6:24)

All of the deleted scenes are in a slightly rawer state in regards to editing and Pollackís questions can be heard when they often cannot be in the main feature. Some of these are longer clips of scenes that do appear in the feature.

Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

Overall

A very serious look at the career of the comedian and what it takes to be one and how it shapes their lives. At times brutally introspective and at times very funny. But donít expect it to be a barrel of laughs from start to finish because it isnít and was not intended to be. Honest, sad and occasionally very screwed up but always entertaining.

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: C+ Overall: B

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.