|By Mira Harber
Jerry Seinfeld's preparations for his new act are the
focus of the documentary Comedian. I've got to tell you that I don't particularly
like Seinfeld, and wasn't expecting anything particularly interesting,
but I was very surprised, I really liked this movie. Why would Jerry
Seinfeld, the most successful comic of his generation, go out on the road
again? Why expose himself to all the potential ridicule? Why bother going
to all that work? The answers to these questions are fascinating.
The creative process is a difficult one, and we watch
as Jerry struggles to put together a new act. After two agonizing months
he is elated to have 20 new minutes of material, on his way to the goal
of a one hour act. Interspersed with Jerry's efforts and thoughts, are
cameos from almost every famous comic alive today, from Robert Klein to
Chris Rock, commenting on comedy and the creative process.
We also meet Orly Adams, a somewhat irritating up and
coming 30-ish young comic. He may be on the p of stardom. He scores big
at the Montreal Comics Festival and gets an agent (same agent as Jerry
Seinfeld). He stuns Jerry with the question ' When you were my age, before
you made it big, didn't you look around at your married friends with their
homes, mortgages, spouses and children' (I'm paraphrasing) and think What
am I doing?' Jerry looks on in stunned disbelief and responds with
a great story about members of the Glenn Miller band, who, stranded in
the middle of a cold, wet field, instruments in hand, are trudging on their
way to a gig. They see bright lights and discover a happy family inside
a cosy, warm home. Mom, dad and the kids are sitting at the dinner table,
happily laughing. One musician looks at another and says "How do they live
like that?" That says it all.
It's curious to see the unpolished Jerry Seinfeld, who
forces himself to go on tour as a stand-up comic. He still gets really
nervous and at times even forgets what he's going to say next - guess what?
He's human, and a work in progress - that's what makes this documentary
work so well.
It's fascinating to hear Chris Rock tell Seinfeld that
he's got to go see the best act he's ever seen, just great, really edgy.
A 2 1/2 hour set, with no break - nothing short of a miracle for a comedian.
Who is this comic genius? Bill Crosby!!! That's right - Chris Rock telling
Jerry Seinfeld he's got to go see Cosby. When Seinfeld does see Cosby,
he practically genuflects!
Comedian is full of many surprises like these. If you
want an honest, gripping account of the creative process, and to see a
who's who of today's great comic talents, don't miss Comedian.