Misery Loves Comedy is a fun documentary. Any documentary that questions various comedians and actors should be. Kevin Pollak is the offscreen interviewer, asking a number of questions that hope to provide us with a sketch of just what it takes to make it in the field of comedy. Unfortunately for him, most of the answers are the ones you would expect to hear. On the plus side, we also get many amusing anecdotes along the way.
There’s not a lot more to be said about Misery Loves Comedy. I’ll try to give you a rough idea of the many names included: Steve Coogan, Larry David, Christopher Guest, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer, Martin Short, Lewis Black, Greg Proops, Judd Apatow, Freddie Prinze Jr, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Merchant, Tom Hanks, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, William H. Macy, Janeane Garofalo and many, many more.
I don’t actively dislike anyone who appears onscreen so that is also a plus, although it’s hard to fully enjoy anything that allows Jimmy Fallon to explain when he first realised he was “good at something” without having him admit that what he tends to be good at is laughing at his own jokes before hitting the punchline and riffing on material that was previously delivered by people who did it better.
You’ll hear about people being influenced by their parents, you’ll hear tales of dying onstage, and you’ll hear about humour being used as a defence mechanism, which is all the usual stuff, but you’ll also hear some very interesting comments from Freddie Prinze Jr. regarding the shadow of his father, you’ll hear about a time when Spinal Tap played a gig that seemed to fall on deaf, unappreciative ears, and you’ll have a chance to hear some more from comedy greats who don’t tend to put themselves out there as much as they used to.
Not something you’ll be likely to revisit often, or even remember. This is simply okay, nothing more and nothing less. And, in the world of comedy, that’s just not good enough.
Misery Loves Comedy screened at EIFF 2015.
DIRECTOR: KEVIN POLLAK
WRITER: KEVIN POLLAK, JOHN VORHAUS
STARS: A BUNCH OF COMEDIANS AND ACTORS
RUNTIME: 94 MINS APPROX