003797Reviews & Counting
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Comedian order
Christian Charles

Jerry Seinfeld
Orny Adams
Colin Quinn


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A fascinating documentary chronicling Jerry Seinfeld’s return to the life of a stand-up comedian. The film also features a look at a rising young funnyman named Orny Adams. One is presently the most popular and recognizable comedian on our planet, while the other is an unknown still waiting for his “break” in the biz. What results is a captivating look into what pretty much all comedians (rich, popular or Howie Mandell) have to go through to try to make what is a grueling 20-minute comedy piece look as easy as pie to the rest of us.
I’m not one of those people who assumed going up on stage and trying to make others laugh was an easy task, but even I had no idea at the amount of pressure, self-doubt and pure anguish that comedians go through to do their jobs night after night. My respect for the work of ANY comedian grew larger by the minute as I witnessed Jerry Seinfeld (a man who could read me the obituaries and have me in stitches) mull over every detail of his act from a two-second pause in a bit to an asshole who can’t shut his trap in the crowd and still try to get it just right. It’s all the more impressive when it’s obvious that the man (as he puts it several times in the film) doesn’t have to do this; he is doing it purely out of his love for the life and laughs.

Oh, and paralleling the ups and downs of the cocky new-comer Orny Adams with Seinfeld’s return to the stage was a stroke of genius. In the end, I didn’t see Orny as an arrogant and self-important prick, but rather a comedian who knows how difficult and cruel a business he’s in, doing and acting in such a way that he survives to reach his goal…of stardom. Like Jerry, he does it because he loves it (the best moment in the film is Jerry offering Orny some advice on just this subject) but he’s also not a millionaire and as such, has to worry about his window of opportunity day by day. My respect for him grew as well, as I saw a man completely honest about himself and his profession.

This was a truly enjoyable movie-watching experience. The documentary film features Jerry talking “shop” with comedians Colin Quinn (comes off as a class act, good friend and a wise man), Chris Rock, Robert Klein, Jay Leno (in another great moment ), Ray Romano, Garry Shandling, Bill Cosby and others, as he tries to get familiar with completely new material (something he often joked about “not” having in his sitcom) and a way of life he’d not been accustomed to living for quite some time. Also, this is Jerry Seinfeld and so there are plenty of laughs to boot (I might have woken a few neighbors of mine with my loud guffaws at 4 in the a.m.). In the end, Seinfeld comes off as a hard-working, respectable guy who loves his life, his friends and of course...making people laugh.
There are plenty of extras to go around here. To begin with, you’re treated to 2 audio commentaries, one with director Christian Charles and producer Gary Streiner and the other with Jerry and Colin Quinn. I tend to always enjoy commentaries on documentaries, as I’ve always been intrigued by the process by which films like these are made and these guys are both insightful and entertaining. Of course, I had a b-b-b-blast listening to Jerry and Colin go at it although Colin tended to not always speak into the mike (too much vodka in Quinn’s Diet Coke perhaps?) which often led to their audio barely being decipherable from the actual film's audio. Ah well, next up is the advertising campaign which includes a spoof theatrical trailer (funny stuff!), TV/radio spots, posters (some really sharp tag-lines) and action figures (if these actually exist, I’m getting my credit card out now-- the Jerry one is adorable!). All of these features are worth checking out and had me laughing quite a bit!

Next on the agenda are two (made exclusively for the DVD) mock interviews by Jiminy Glick (that phony, fat celebrity interviewer Martin Short portrays) with Jerry Seinfeld and Orny Adams. I actually don’t find that Glick character funny in the least, but with these two fine comedians, it was endurable. A few deleted scenes with optional commentary are also on here, a couple of more bits by Jerry but nothing to lose sleep over. I’m actually glad they cut these out, the film’s length was just right. Where Is Orny Now? is a short film of only a few minutes featuring our favorite under-dog in L.A. cracking jokes and giving us more of his self-deprecating humor. I’m glad he’s still going strong. I wet myself watching Orny’s and Jerry’s spots on David Letterman in their entirety. They just give you a taste of it in the actual film so this extra allows us to see the whole hilarious spot for each of them; Orny especially kills on his first national chance at the limelight. Oh, Colin’s, Jerry’s and Orny’s actual written notes from their comedy bits are also featured on the DVD (although they’re unreadable so it’s pretty much a curiosity item than anything else).

A very satisfying array of extra materials, color me impressed!
Simply put, this film is for Jerry Seinfeld fans, comedians pro & amateur, movie-lovers and documentary buffs. It’s extremely revealing of the life and times of a comedian and manages to pull you in with ease and entertain you throughout. With the movie being as good as it is and the extras being top of the line, I can’t help but suggest you borrowing money from your boss or loan-shark and buying a copy of COMEDIAN to add to your fancy DVD collection. Money well borrowed, believe me!
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