Bitter Jester (2003)
BITTER JESTER is the first documentary to give us a glimpse into the real process behind the comedy we watch in clubs, on television and at the movies. Through the eyes of comedienne Maija DiGiorgio, we take a guided tour of the comedy business at its rawest. Behind the jokes and smiles, Maija reveals what really goes on in the minds of so many comedians. She allows us to witness a side of stand-up comedy we rarely see, from young comics unable to get stage time to comedy superstars musing on their own failures. Over the course of nearly two years, Maija documents her own roller coaster career in stand-up comedy and searches for the answers we all seek. This extraordinarily bizarre and entertaining journey takes her back and forth across the country several times as she seeks the insight and wisdom of fellow comics. Original, spontaneous and incredibly funny, BITTER JESTER is a unique glimpse into the soft underbelly of stand-up comedy and the personalities who inhabit it. It is a story of struggle, self doubt, and the emotional pain from which humor is born and the powerful role it plays uplifting us and keeping us sane.
- Bitter Jester
Bitter Jester is the true tale of the life-altering journey of New York City comic Maija DiGiorgio. On the cusp of stardom, a hilariously neurotic comedienne attends the Aspen Comedy Festival with high hopes of officially launching her career. Torn between her agents directions to make her material more commercially viable and Maijas desire to maintain who she is, she implodes...on stage.. in a packed room full of executives. In Maija's words, "Telling a room full of Hollywood Executives to go fuck themselves had a predictable effect on my career. In a last ditch effort to salvage both career and sanity, she sets out to show the world just how twisted and masochistic her world of standup comedy really is. As Maija begins what appears to be a deluded attempt to justify her meltdown, she is abruptly interrupted by Kenny, her train wreck of a boyfriend who also happens to be an ex heavy weight boxer, ex pastry chef, and ex celebrity bodyguard. Determined to see himself back in the limelight, Kenny immediately stakes claim to the credits of co-star and producer, and sets off on his own deluded road to fame and fortune, dragging along anyone who finds him tolerable. Setting off the tailspin journey of this couples disillusioned road to stardom, is a WWFesque confrontation with Jerry Seinfeld on location of the stars vanity project. This escapade results in a New York Post front-page headline and death threats forcing the camera toting couple to leave the city. Forging ahead with a dysfunctional crew, Maija and Kenny crisscross the country, conspiring to con celebrities into being their supporting cast. They convince a surprising birth of industry legends to sit down for the most revealing and awkward interviews of their careers and documenting an eclectic borage of insightful, and yet sometimes absurd and irrelevant opinions. George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Phyllis Diller, Kevin James, Lewis Black, Ray Romano, Bill Maher, and Richard Pryor are among a long list of celebrity comics harassed into being a part of this project. When Kennys obsession with fame takes over Maijas film and personal quest, she is forced to fight back or risk losing everything. Maija DiGiorgios is a familiar story of the tumultuous search for true identity. She shows us the emotional pain from which humor is born and the powerful role it plays in uplifting us and keeping us sane. In the wake of lifes greatest tragedies, the human spirit is transformed, and Maija has recorded the raw reality of its course.