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Featured DVD Review: Comedian

October 26th, 2011

Comedian - Buy from Amazon

Jerry Seinfeld is best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld. This show lasted nine seasons and was routinely one of the highest rated TV shows on at the time, plus it earned 10 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes, 6 SAGs, 4 WGAs, 3 DGAs and countless other awards and nominations. In 2002, a few years after the show ended, he was the focuses Comedian, which makes sense, as he was still arguably one of the most well known Stand-Up comics around. Will the documentary entertain his fans? Will fans of stand-up in general want to watch it as well? Will it have even wider cross-over appeal?

The Movie

After Jerry Seinfeld decided Seinfeld should end its amazing run on TV, he also decided to drop his entire act and start again. Comedian is the documentary made to chronicle that process, as well as looking at the profession in general and an up and coming comic, Orny Adams, in particular. The film is loaded with cameos from some of the biggest names in the industry.

You can divide the film into three parts that are mixed throughout the film. The first is the behind-the-scenes process stand-up comics go through to craft a joke. Fans of stand-up should appreciate this, although watching a comedian craft a joke from initial concept to refined bit is repetitive and for most of the refining process, the joke isn't that funny. The second section includes interviews with many comics (Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Robert Klien, etc.), who talk about why they do what they do. It has a lot to do with insecurities. (Jay Leno talks about fears of losing it all and having to become a security guard.) And the third part is watching the actual stand-up performances. If you go into the movie expecting a large portion of the film to be high quality stand-up material, you will be disappointed, because most of what we hear early on is pretty rough.

The quality of the video is also rather rough. It was shot on consumer level digital cameras back before the HD Format War started. Today you can walk into practically any electronics store and pick up a professional quality HD camcorder for $2000 or less. I guess you could say they were trying to reproduce the feel of being in a comedy club, but I'm not sure that was a wise decision.

One last note. I'm not a fan of Orny Adams after seeing this film. He came across as full of himself and not very funny. If a joke failed, it was the audiences' fault, not his. He cared more about being famous than being funny. He grated on my nerves.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD. There are not even subtitles.

The Verdict

Comedian has its flaws, but fans of stand-up in general or Jerry Seinfeld in particular will want to check it out. The DVD has no extras, but it's worth a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Comedian