Going into this movie, I knew it was going to be a little different. Its sortofa documentary, but nowhere nearly as organized as one. I knew it had Jerry Seifeld, so it had to have something funny going for it. Basically, the idea is that it kinda tagged along and captured a behind-the-scenes look at comedians, developing their craft, hitting the hustings, and doing everything that they do.
The movie delivers a pretty insightful look by the time its all said and done. The movie is definitely not for everyone, as its a pretty specialized glance into the craft of developing comedy. The film looks at this from the vantage point of two comedians: Jerry Seinfeld and Orny Adams.
Seinfeld, as we all should be aware, has had more than his 15 minutes of fame. Having had a long run as a successful standup comic, a highly rated sitcom that led to every other comic getting a sitcom, and even a nice post-sitcom run as a high-volume comic filling large venues. Everytime I tell myself I’ve had my fill of Seinfeld, he continues to come up with something that holds my interest and this movie offers a great glimpse into his thought process. The movie explores Seinfeld as he tries to reinvent his artform. Tossing out his old material, he begins anew, hitting the NYC circuit doing 5-minute walkons. As he continues, he goes on to do 15 minute segments, and then showcasing himself. The process for this is really unique and something not explored in enough detail. Basically, comedians are able to walk into a club, see if there’s time for a performance and if they can swing their way onto the stage for a segment. There’s usually a line of comedians waiting for a 5 minute opening to go out. One really has to wonder if Seinfeld has ever heard the word “No” when he takes this approach.
There are times when your compelled to feel sorry for Seinfeld as he struggles to come up with new material, or he whines about the difficulties inherit in the business. Knowing that he’s got a ton of dough socked away really negates that desire. Its also tough to feel sorry for a guy that hops aboard a private jet to make a show in Cleveland or LA. But seeing him in action is always a thrill. He’s still one of the best, if not THE best. Still, knowing that he’s trying to rely on new material to keep himself relevant to a newer and younger crowd is something to appreciate. The movie tracks the beginning of this quest to Jerry’s return to perform on Late Night, and eventually, on the big stage. His is a happy ending.
Orny Adams is the contrast we see in the movie and there’s not really an ending to Adams’ story. Adams is the up-and-coming comedian who seems to try to hard, think too much of himself, and take this business way too seriously. The film shows him going through all his written work: the files of old jokes, the catalogs of personal journals, the logs of jokes, etc, etc, etc. One really can’t imagine a comic going through this much trouble, yet there it is, up on the big screen for all to see.