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When Stand Up Stood Out (2003)

R  |   |  Documentary, Comedy
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 203 users  
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Documentary covering what came to be known as "The Boston Gold Rush" of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Boston stand-up comedians like Dennis Leary, Steven Wright and Colin Quinn burst... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Barry Crimmins ...
Mike Donovan ...
Ken Rogerson ...


Documentary covering what came to be known as "The Boston Gold Rush" of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Boston stand-up comedians like Dennis Leary, Steven Wright and Colin Quinn burst upon the national scene, giving audiences a taste of the hard-edged social and political commentary that came out of that city. Written by

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Rated R for language and some drug content


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Needs To Stand Out More
17 July 2006 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Fran Solomita's documentary WHEN STAND-UP STOOD OUT chronicles the rise of the Boston stand-up scene in the late seventies and early eighties, a period that produced such talents as Dennis Leary, Steven Wright, Don Gavin, Janeane Garofolo, Lenny Clarke, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Colin Quinn and Solomita himself. It follows the scene's conception, at a crummy little Chinese restaurant called the Ding Ho, to Wright's first appearance on Carson's TONIGHT SHOW, to the mainstream success comedians like Clarke, Leary and Garofolo have enjoyed, while confronting issues of inter-comic jealously, bitter rivalries, drug and alcohol excesses, and the elusive specter of fame. The film is constructed competently, and features some really eye-popping moments (the comedian who bashes a heckler with his guitar), but it never really feels like more than a slightly longer BEHIND THE MUSIC or TRUE Hollywood STORY. Since the director is a buddy of most of the subjects, the viewer feels like an outsider on an inside joke, robbing the film of it's objectivity. The major issues (the drugs, the jealously) are dealt with in brief montages, so most of the film is dedicated to showing early (and admittedly funny) clips of the comedians performing, and no real insight is made. Ironically, WHEN STAND-UP STOOD OUT really needs to stand out more.

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