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>
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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After the credits end, there's a short scene in which Colin Quinn tells Seinfeld a very old joke. See more »
After cocreating and starring for nine years in THE sitcom of the '90s, and rightfully earning hundreds of millions of dollars doing so, funnyman Jerry Seinfeld did not do what I would have done; namely, lay in a hammock by the ocean for the rest of his life. To his great credit, Seinfeld decided to go back to what he loves most: doing stand-up material in front of an audience. Director Christian Charles' 2002 documentary "Comedian," it must be stated, is not so much a performance film as it is a primer in how very difficult it is to put an hour's worth of "killer" material together. This is not a Jerry Seinfeld biography, but rather a collection of glimpses into the lives of working comics. During the course of the film, as Jerry painstakingly--and sometimes painfully--puts his new act together, he talks to such established names as Jay Leno, Gary Shandling, Bill Cosby (his childhood hero, apparently), Robert Klein (whose joke about Florida may be the film's funniest) and Ray Romano. For contrast, perhaps half the film is taken up by the travails of a talented and cocky aspiring comic named Orny Adams, whose various struggles really show us how difficult the comedy business can be. I mean, here it is, more than six years since Orny's Letterman debut, and he is still hardly a household name, right? The net result for most viewers will most likely be a realization of how hard it is to just get up there and tell jokes; forget about making it big in the business! On the down side, "Comedian" features excessively choppy editing, overlapped dialogue that is often hard to make out, and just not enough actual performance footage. The film does have a cumulative effect, however, and the sum does wind up equalling more than its many jagged parts. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
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