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Betty Jo Tucker

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Misery Loves Comedy: Film Review/Poem
By Betty Jo Tucker
Last edited: Monday, June 01, 2015
Posted: Monday, June 01, 2015



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Recent articles by
Betty Jo Tucker

• I'll See You in My Dreams: Film Review
• Hollywood Legends
• Adult Beginners Film Review
• Ever After: Film Review
• Cinderella: Film Review
• Dancing at Lughnasa: Film Review
• Take the Lead: Film Review
           >> View all 224
Does one have to be miserable to be funny? "Misery Loves Comedy," an amusing and enlightening documentary directed by Kevin Pollak, explores that question. Although the director never appears on screen, we hear him asking variations of that question to over 50 famous funny people including some of my favorites like Tom Hanks, Lisa Kudrow, Richard Lewis, Larry David, Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Short, Christopher Guest, Jemaine Clement, Steve Coogan, Janeane Garafalo, Jon Favreau, Matthew Perry and Andy Richter.


During the course of these short interviews, we gain more insight about why these people have chosen comedy as a profession, how their parents influenced them, why they crave attention, how getting laughs became addictive for them, and how they handle failure to make an audience laugh. Because so many people are interviewed and the camera jumps back and forth with each one several times, the documentary sometimes lacks coherence. Still, it’s fascinating to hear top level comedians, actors, directors and writers be honest about their insecurities and fears concerning their work.

 

Being funny

requires some pain.

But laughter seems

to make pain wane.

 

Funny folks help

us laugh at cares.

They take great risks

with all their shares.

 

Find out what makes

these funsters tick

and why they each

have their own shtick.

 

For tales of woe

turned into gold,  

check out this film

with comics bold.

 

After seeing Misery Loves Company, I have a greater admiration for the courage of anyone who goes into this field. The old saying that “dying is easy; comedy is hard” may be true after all. Pollak fittingly dedicates his documentary to the great Robin Williams.  

 

If you are a wannabe comedian or just adore comedy, this film is for you. You also might enjoy these other movies dealing with the subject: Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show; Comedians; Goodbye, Baby; and Punchline. All four films go deeper into what it means to be a comedian, the persistence required for success and obstacles that must be overcome.     

 

There’s a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.  --- Erma Bombeck

 

Comedy has to be based on truth. Just tell the truth and put a little curlicue at the end. --- Sid Caesar

 

(Released by Tribeca Films; not rated by MPAA. WARNING: Lots of strong language throughout.)

 

Review also posted at ReelTalk Movie Reviews. 

Web Site ReelTalk Movie Reviews
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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 6/2/2015
I can see that you are not only a very good movie critic, you are a poet too!

I've been fascinated with comics and know that they often come from difficult or tragic situations and use comedy to overcome depression. I will see if I can see this documentary. Through his father, my student, Eric Hunter, a graduate of theater arts from Notre Dame, has been struggling for many years, and I believe, now makes a reasonable living for he and his family as a comic.

http://erichunter.webs.com

If depression doesn't get them like Robin Williams and so many others with drugs/alcohol, they tend to live a very long time like George Burns and Bob Hope.

Ron

Books by
Betty Jo Tucker



Confessions of a Movie Addict

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Susan Sarandon: A True Maverick

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The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies

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