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.

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Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Michael Richards
Jerry Before Seinfeld (TV Special 2017)
Documentary | Comedy
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Comedian Jerry Seinfeld takes the stage at the comedy club where he began his career to recount his early life.

Director: Michael Bonfiglio
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Brogan, Mark Schiff
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Mock documentary about Seinfeld writer Larry David featuring contributions from his friends and colleagues. Larry makes a return to stand-up comedy and prepares to film a television special for HBO.

Director: Robert B. Weide
Stars: Jason Alexander, Larry Charles, Carol Leifer
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself
...
Himself (as Greg Geraldo)
Sherrod Small ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Cynthia Koury ...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself (as T Sean Shannon)
Gary Greenberg ...
Himself
Shawn Seymour ...
Himself
Richard Spector ...
Himself
Michael Britt ...
Himself
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Storyline

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 <shannon@mun.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jerry Seinfeld swearing. Only in theaters. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

1 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anatomy of a Joke  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$60,224 (USA) (13 October 2002)

Gross:

$2,744,253 (USA) (22 December 2002)
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Company Credits

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Show detailed on  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Robert Klein: My parents retired to South Florida. They're gone now, but I'll tell you the truth, I have a beef with South Florida. I'll tell you, I don't know what it is. I'm sick about it, bitter. I sent two healthy 65-year old parents to South Florida. 30 years later - dead! I mean what is it, the water, the air - it's a death camp!
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Crazy Credits

After the credits end, there's a short scene in which Colin Quinn tells Seinfeld a very old joke. See more »

Connections

Edited from Late Show with David Letterman (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation
Written by Joe Henry (as Joseph L. Henry)
Published by WB Music Corp. (ASCAP) on behalf of itself and True North Music & Lemz Music
Performed by Joe Henry
Courtesy of Mammoth Records
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User Reviews

A fun look at life as a stand-up comic (***)
25 November 2002 | by (Sacramento, CA.) – See all my reviews

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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