A look at the work of two stand-up comics, Jerry Seinfeld and a lesser-known newcomer, detailing the effort and frustration behind putting together a successful act and career while living a life on the road.
Fresh from the success of his sitcom, comedian Jerry Seinfeld decided to do the unimaginable: he completely retired his stand-up act, electing to start over again by developing entirely new material. "Comedian" follows Seinfeld through this process, as he rehearses in front of small comedy club audiences, meets with fellow comics and finally appears before a national audience. Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <email@example.com>
Interestingly, the funny in-joke teaser trailer for the film has nothing to do with its subject, doesn't feature any scenes or characters from the documentary nor does it ever mention what the movie is even about. It instead follows a trailer narrator called Jack (played by the legendary movie trailer narrator Hal Douglas who along with Don LaFontaine and Nick Tate narrated the trailers for almost every single big Hollywood blockbuster during the 1990's), who's in a recording booth trying to record the opening narration for the trailer for the Comedian, but since the film is not a typical Hollywood blockbuster, Jack is simply unable to find the right non-epic wording that would properly describe such a normal non-blockbuster movie. See more »
I have no idea what the curve is, of when it's gonna... feel like it used to feel.
When you're killing... you're up there killing, and you're miserable. That's how you'll know.
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After the credits end, there's a short scene in which Colin Quinn tells Seinfeld a very old joke. See more »
I was never a big fan of "Seinfeld", though that had more to do with my natural opposition to sitcoms (laugh tracks make me cringe) than with the material in the show itself. So, by extension, I didn't think I was the biggest fan of Jerry Seinfeld himself either, but after seeing "Comedian", an intense and funny documentary about what it takes to make it in that profession, I have a newfound appreciation for him, as well as stand-up comics in general.
Stand-up comedy is one of those professions that a lot of people probably think anybody could get up there and do, but this movie proves otherwise. It's rough work entertaining people, especially in a live setting and when you're up there all by your lonesome.
The movie mainly focuses on Seinfeld as he gradually makes his comeback to the stand-up scene after years of absence, slowly compiling new material and testing it out on audiences. It's a brave format for a comedy film, because it's about HOW an act is perfected, and not just the perfect act itself. That means we're allowed to see what it looks like when jokes fall dead flat, because that is all a learning experience for a comic, no matter how long they've been doing it.
Several other comics, like Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling, and George Wallace make brief appearances, and in a nice scene near the end, Seinfeld has a good conversation with one of his idols, a warm and encouraging Bill Cosby.
Also a big plus is the cool, New York atmosphere and the soundtrack, which features songs by artists as diverse as Charles Mingus, Al Green and Bob Dylan.
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