Misery Loves Comedy, 2015
dir. Kevin Pollak
I was really looking forward to this after watching the trailer, but it was a huge let down.
In theory, this documentary aims to uncover through interviews with many comedians if one has to be miserable in order to be funny, but they don’t actually make it to that question until over an hour into the film. And it’s really just interviews, there are no videos of performances or clips from films, or even graphics — it’s just interviews with many people, some of which are really not funny. Most of which, in fact. There are hilarious comics like Amy Schumer, Matthew Perry, Larry David, Matt Walsh and Marc Maron (among others), but there are also people who are really unfunny but who think they are hilarious, like Nick Swardson, Jim Norton, and David Koechner (again, among many others.) Some of the testimonies are really unimpressing, clearly hacks who think themselves as the funniest cats in town, laughing at their own jokes, or looking smugly like they know you’re laughing, while the audience sits in silence, wondering if it’s going to end soon.
The format of it is really not engaging at all, and it doesn’t add any new information to the world. They might as well have posted it straight to YouTube because it doesn’t work as a film. It was very confusing as well, because the filmmaker just seemed to aimlessly ask random questions and sort of tried to put them together in categories, all of which had very little to do with the thesis of the documentary — do you have to be miserable to be funny? And the thing is, they could have done a ninety minute documentary on it, with the right interviews and videos. They could have put a clip of a Louis C.K. stand-up between interviews (and interviews Louis C.K., why didn’t they??), or a clip from Seinfeld, or that final scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen tells the eggs joke. That combined with talking heads that actually were about what the documentary claimed to be about would have made it much better. This feels like a first draft of something, and it’s just a bit nonsensical and very boring.
Overall, this was a disappointing experience, and I would not recommend. Not even Tom Hanks and Sam Rockwell could save this movie for me.
review by Mariana Duarte