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Posts tagged as comedy docs

Delving Into the Fandom That Brought 'Arrested Development' Back To Life

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Right now would seem like an ideal time to release The Arrested Development Documentary Project. In the midst of an almost dizzying amount of excitement about the fourth season of Arrested Development, premiering May 26 on Netflix, the show has gotten more press and [...]

Saying Goodbye to Richard Pryor When He Was Still Around to Hear It

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

It feels appropriate to be wrapping up nearly a year’s worth of comedy documentaries with a look at one of the greatest comedians ever, and one of the first comedy documentaries I ever saw. When Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet Mother@!#%$!! first aired [...]

A Man Aims High with His Last Wish in 'Dying to Do Letterman'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

“I got into comedy for one reason and one reason only,” Steve Mazan explains at the beginning of Dying to do Letterman. “To live a dream I’ve had since I was 12 years old: to perform stand-up comedy on David Letterman’s show.”

So in [...]

Inside the Absurdist Political Campaign of Comedian Jón Gnarr

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Comedy and politics have always circled one another. Political cartoons have poked fun at politics for centuries, while politicians have increasingly needed to possess a sense of humor about themselves and their parties. But it’s rare for a comedian to get as immersed as [...]

Understanding Comedy by Doing it in 'Alone Up There'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

In Alone Up There, Canadian filmmaker and comedy fan Sean Patrick Shaul set out to understand and explore stand-up as an art form. The documentary is an over-arching look at modern comedy, in the vein of I Am Comic. Much of the film [...]

What I Learned From Watching a Boatload of Comedy Documentaries This Year

The appeal of comedy documentaries, for me, has always been the opportunity to see a subject I love addressed seriously. I find it valuable to get an outsider's perspective on comedy, an industry that loves to look at itself but can be resistant to external scrutiny. And no matter how much comedy I see, I never tire of watching the change between a comedian on stage and off, to see what elements of themselves each performer brings onstage. Because humor requires the element of surprise, comedy is constantly evolving and changing.

There's so much to learn, and documentaries are a fantastic resource. Though great documentaries vary in style and [...]

Monty Python Pays Tribute to Graham Chapman in 'A Liar's Autobiography'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Monty Python's work has inspired countless comedians and writers around the world, but their work could never be accused of being simple to describe. And so it’s appropriate that a tribute to and documentary about Graham Chapman, the only deceased member of the group, [...]

Looking at the Questionable Value of Stand-Up Schools in 'Finding the Funny'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

A class that attempts to teach someone to become a stand-up just feels, well, wrong. The new documentary Finding the Funny follows one such class, a six-week course in Las Vegas. As the film’s director and narrator, John Bizarre, says at the beginning, “Comedy [...]

The Art of Comedy Throughout the Ages and 'History of the Joke'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

In 2005, the History Channel dipped into the world of comedy documentaries with a two-hour special, History of the Joke, structured around the idea of looking for the world’s best joke. The special is produced and hosted by Lewis Black, who explains that all [...]

'Goodnight, We Love You': A Disappointing Look Back at Phyllis Diller's Final Show

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

With the recent passing of Phyllis Diller (and some associated controversies), it seems appropriate for a documentary to shine a light on the career and legacy of one of the most influential comedians in the world. Goodnight, We Love You, a 2004 film [...]

Comedy Documentaries I'd Like to See

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like the comedy documentary category would be that full. But there are, I've discovered, quite a few. Making a good comedy documentary is tough, for a lot of reasons, but it all starts with finding a genuinely [...]

Visiting America's First Comedy Club in 'Warm Beer Lousy Food'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

“I only hired crazy people,” says the owner of Brooklyn's Crazy Country Club at the beginning of the new documentary Warm Beer Lousy Food (the title of the film comes from the club’s tagline.) With that anarchic mentality, the Crazy Country Club inadvertently became [...]

Catching Up with Eddie Pepitone in 'The Bitter Buddha'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Making a documentary about a man who is both a living comedy legend and an under-appreciated genius is walking a tight rope. How does one show-off his brilliance while exploring why he’s struggled to succeed? And is it possible to fairly assess a comic, [...]

Finding Lenny Bruce's Imprint on the Comedy World in Two Documentaries

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

Lenny Bruce’s legacy is undeniable. He was a ground-breaker, a pioneer in truth-telling comedy, the first to break away from charming family entertainment to address the real social issues off the day, including race, sex, and drugs. Comedy would not be what it is [...]