Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exfanding Review: The Comedians of Comedy

I haven't had much time to think these past few days. With the short notice I was given that our office was going under, getting all my stuff together became a mad dash to finish by Friday afternoon. Cleaning out my computer and my desk, all my drawers, finding all the keys that I had to give back to the right people...

Not fun.

And the contacts--scrambling to get every scrap of information possible on every contact I'd made over the past few years, in the (probably vain) attempt at catching someone at a good moment and getting hired elsewhere, quickly.

Since Friday afternoon, I've applied to over a dozen jobs, and I've sent out five or six inquiry emails. I've yet to start bugging my contacts, but I have a feeling that will be the next move.

So, between all of the moving things from my office, and the (seemingly endless) form-filing and phone calls to the Department of Labor, and (trying to) get some sleep despite my completely obliterated nerves...last night I felt like I needed to laugh.

Just laugh and forget about life for a while.

So I threw in The Comedians of Comedy (flawless segue, no?) on my DVD player, and I did just that.

Laugh, I mean.

Who are the Comedians of Comedy? Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, and Zach Galifianakis.

If you're familiar with any one of them, then you're likely familiar with this documentary. If the names don't seem familiar at all, there's still a good chance you know Patton and Brian from television. If you hear Brian's voice, then you'll immediately recognize him. Check his Wiki. I'll wait.

Now, if you only know these comedians because of their various TV and movie roles, then you really don't know these comedians. They are, for lack of a better term, the comedic avante garde. They tell Star Wars jokes, and they talk about Nerd Life just ask often as they talk about the mundane and the everyday.

But their sensibilities are far different from those of mainstream entertainers.

They curse and their jokes can be filthy, and they just do not pull punches in their acts. They don't conform, and they refuse to make the stories they tell onstage more "audience friendly," because they do real bits on real people and events.

The Comedians of Comedy DVD follows the four comedians as they travel the country, doing shows at small venues. In 2005, when the documentary was made, all four performers had made their names, and Oswalt and Posehn especially had dedicated fan followings. The idea behind the tour was for the four to play at small venues that traditionally hosted indie rock shows.

The thinking there was that the cover charges at such places are typically much lower than the clubs the comics normally played in, so a wider sampling of their fans could come to see them. They'd also expose themselves to a newer, younger audience, that maybe can't afford going to larger venues.

And the entire tour was filmed, so in addition to the hilarious stand-up material shown in the movie, viewers also get to go on the tour bus with the comics, and watch as they write and practice new jokes, go to an honest-to-goodness arcade, shop at a local comics store, and make fun of each other and the world around them.

Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn are bona fide geeks, and the movie actually opens in Posehn's home office, where he has his Simpsons action figures and comics on proud display. He and Oswalt are shown hitting up a comics shop on one leg of their tour, and they liken their buying habits to an addiction. In a cool and kind of touching moment, though, Posehn talks about being nearly 40 years old, and still reading something that "nobody else really gets."

In addition to the documentary, there's also an hour-long live show, performed by three of the comics so you can get a longer look at their act.

The Comedians of Comedy is not family-friendly, heartwarming entertainment by any stretch of the imagination, but it is flat-out hysterical. And, as I mentioned, that's exactly what the doctor ordered.


Scott said...

Here's something to look forward to... a Crisis on DVD.


AJG said...

Oh, wow. That should be awesome!