The roster of comedians in Kevin Pollak’s documentary Misery Loves Comedy is overwhelming. The emerging, the popular, the legendary – a disgusting amount of them signed up to add their perspectives to a winding conversation about being funny. Including Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Obviously, if you saw that title, there’s another edge to it.
Neil saw it at Sundance and explains in his review:
“To see the likes of Lewis Black and Jimmy Fallon musing similarly about the failures of their careers – or as Black says, “you have to be willing to watch yourself die” – is illuminating. There’s no denying that any life lived “on the road,” be it music, comedy or traveling circus, is difficult. But in comedy, there’s something else. A deeper sense of misery that takes over when one walks off stage. That’s where misery and comedy meet for many of Pollak’s subjects. To be in control of an audience is the height of their happiness, to lose that is to plunge instantly back into the darkness.”
It’s an exploration of the myth (reality?) that you have to be profoundly unhappy in order to successfully be funny, so we’re devastated and overjoyed to share this brief clip where Christopher Guest describes a childhood revelation that had nothing to do with seeking attention. Headphones are recommended.
I love the very idea of this documentary because it has a kernel of an important, personal question that’s being explored by people who have become famous by harnessing pain and deflecting it. Guest is a phenomenon, and his personality shines through here greatly. Dry, weird, mostly anarchic. It’s fantastic that he recognizes that he stumbled upon this stupid thing and started using it for a mostly pointless purpose. If there can be such a thing. At any rate, he’s funny.