Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Month of the Comedy Documentary

Call it serendipity or blame an unimaginative Netflix queue, but I just finished watching my third documentary in as many weeks. The first, The Comedians of Comedy, previously discussed here and the last, Comedian, made a great pair of bookends -- the films are a wonderful complement to each other, and not in the least bit redundant.

Comedian follows Jerry Seinfeld as he embarks on a mission to get back to his comedy roots by playing small clubs as he develops an act of completely new material.

The film doesn't play up the laughs like Comedians of Comedy, but instead tends to focus on the just how serious the comedy business is. It is seriously fascinating to watch Jerry hang out and discuss/analyze the progress of his new act with the likes of Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Gary Shandling, Ray Romano, Jay Leno...and Bill Cosby (who Jerry sees after Rock tells him that Cosby effortlessly does an amazing 2 1/2 hours of material.)

Seinfeld's journey is contrasted by the parallel tale of on-the-brink-of-making-it comedian Orny Adams. Adams bares his soul for the camera, and his off-stage ego-maniacal obsessing underscores his raging insecurity. He may be funny on-stage but behind the scenes he is just so tightly wound that you feel like reaching into the screen and pouring some Xanax down his throat. His portrayal in the documentary has me fairly convinced that he probably googles himself regularly, is reading this right now and is saying, "You f*cking bitch."

Haven't watched the DVD extra features yet, but it's got the usual complement of commentary and deleted scenes. Included are parallel Seinfeld/Orny appearances on Letterman and Jimmy Glick...as well as a gallery of action figures under the "Advertising" chapter -- no explanation given as to their purpose, but I suppose one never needs to explain the existence of an action figure.

There's also a "Where is Orny Now?" featurette, a pressing question which needs answering if I'm ever to get a good night's sleep again.

1 Comments:

At December 21, 2005 2:02 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Watched the "Where is Orny Now?" extra feature last night...and afterwards I felt I ripped into him a little too much in my post. Not to say I still don't think he's wacked. But he seems to have gained a bit of perspective (call it grounding via development-deal-gone-wrong.)

Listened to first half hour or so of the Seinfeld & Colin Quinn commentary -- it was actually quite interesting; unfortunately, my life doesn't usually allow for watching movies completely through more than once or else I would have liked to have heard it in its entirety.

Lastly, I just HATE Martin Short's Jimmy Glick schtick. You won't be missing anything if you skip that extra feature, except maybe a feeling of deep discomfort.

 

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