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Fear of public speaking and the making of comedians: "Misery loves comedy".

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It’s a truism that stand-up comedy is harder than it looks. Though it may seem like something anyone can do, telling jokes in a room full of strangers is something best left to professionals. It’s a demanding craft, and also, when approached with the proper mix of discipline and inspiration, an art.


All of that applies equally to documentary filmmaking. Comedians don’t get points for trying, and documentaries should not be judged on their intentions. “Misery Loves Comedy,” Kevin Pollak’s survey of the opinions of a bunch of professionally funny people, is an evident labor of love and also a work of grating amateurism. Mr. Pollak is an accomplished actor with ample comic gifts — he had a memorable moment in “The Aristocrats,” Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza’s 2005 documentary about a notoriously filthy joke — and impressive access to the famous and the talented, including Mr. Jillette.


Mr. Pollak, never seen and occasionally heard on screen, invites his interlocutors to reflect on the meaning of the stand-up life. Not all of them are best known as comedians. Tom Hanks shares some thoughts, as do James L. Brooks, Christopher Guest, the guys from the Opie and Anthony radio program and Jason Alexander, forever George Costanza to “Seinfeld” fans. Judd Apatow is also on hand to talk about, among other things, his early encounters with Jerry Seinfeld (who is not in the movie, though Larry David is) and other titans in the field. The roster of interviewees also includes Freddie Prinze Jr., who reflects on the legacy of his father, a brilliant young performer who took his own life in 1977.


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/movies/review-misery-loves-comedy-puts-stand-up-in-the-spotlight.html




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