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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Comedian - Jerry Seinfeld (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

BrianMillerMagic
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I absolutely love Comedian: Jerry Seinfeld. Especially if you've followed his career and own or have seen Jerry Seinfeld Live on Broadway, the show during which he retired all of his classic material, this is a real treat. You get to see him start building a new act from scratch, and it proves that celebrities are just like the rest of us. When he has no material, Jerry Seinfeld is just as nervous and anxious as any one of us mere mortals. Great movie.
cfrye
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You also get to see Orney Anderson, an up-and-coming comedian, making all the classic mistakes of youth...



Curt
sirbrad
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Yeah I also have "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" and love it. Not to mention all the Seinfeld shows. I also enjoyed the segments with Orny as well. I would love to see a similar documentary about various magicians working various venues, and all the situations that arise from each one, and how they handle things on the fly. I would even love to take part in one. Most of the time the audience only gets to see the glamorous side of the show, not the not so glamorous aspects of all it took to book that show.

This movie really allowed me to look back and reflect on my career and appreciate more where I came from, as well as provide additional insight into the future. That only scratches the surface of it...Maybe I will add more later.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-09-05 22:50, Bill Abbott wrote:
I know Orny, and a lot of what was in that film was FOR the camera.
That being said, he is a complete neurotic and I know he knows it (and exploits it).

Bill Abbott


Bill is absolutely right. Orny was, in large part, trying to create conflict, and succeeded! I started in stand-up with Jerry almost 30 years ago, and he was always admired by the rest of the comedy community as someone who worked tirelessly on his act. An unbelievably disciplined artist. Whether you like his type of humor or not, there is NO one better at crafting a joke. Jerry will sweat over an "and" or an "or", streamlining a joke to its essence. Jerry was also the first comic I can remember to have multiple punch lines with only one set-up. The jokes and subsequent laughs came at you like machine gun fire. And the man never stopped thinking. I remember giving him a lift home from the Comic Strip in NYC 25 years ago. It was winter; a ton of snow was on my car. All the way home, Jerry was riffing on how the windshield wipers were using all their might to lift the snow, like little men bench-pressing, trying to lift it. Naturally, it's totally unfunny as I re-tell it here, (I can't remember the specifics), but I'll never forget thinking- "This guy is writing a new bit while just talking to me!"
When I first saw the movie "Punchline" in the mid-80's, I was furious (as was the rest of the comedy world), as it had no basis in reality. Comics (or magicians, for that matter) with LOCKERS in the club???!!! And they all work the same club EVERY WEEK? Buying jokes in a diner, like scoring drugs? Like stand-up isn't interesting enough, they have to go and make sh*t up! Which brings me to "Comedian"...
There is no better film which presents the process of performing any better. Jerry is the most confident comic you'll find, yet the film shows that going out and doing new material, EVEN for the best comic, is a nervewracking experience. You feel like a newcomer. If you saw it in the theater, it's worth renting the DVD for the extras, which are extremely illuminating.
rinpoche
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It's interesting that some of my very favorite comedians over the years turn out to be very nice and extremely hardworking and down-to earth people.

Jerry Seinfeld comes to mind as does Chris Rock. I remember hearing that when Chris Rock isn't performing, he's basically locked in his basement working on material.

Some comedians who I am not as fond of (and who shall remain nameless), have been real jerks to people I have spoken to who know them.

I think for me the number one personality trait that drives me bonkers is an inflated sense of entitlement. "I'm important blah blah blah" When you see guys like Rock and Seinfeld who have made it and yet continue to work really hard at their craft - that's something to be appreciated.
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2007-09-06 02:22, gabelson wrote:


When I first saw the movie "Punchline" in the mid-80's, I was furious (as was the rest of the comedy world), as it had no basis in reality. Comics (or magicians, for that matter) with LOCKERS in the club???!!! And they all work the same club EVERY WEEK? Buying jokes in a diner, like scoring drugs? Like stand-up isn't interesting enough, they have to go and make sh*t up!



As a comic in the late-80's, when Punchline came out, I personally enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, the subculture was misrepresented, but that pretty much happens every time something you're involved in gets represented on screen (see also: chess, poker, boxing, magic, and whatever hobbies/interests/occupations/avocations YOU may have). Sure, I found it somewhat annoying, but that movie isn't ABOUT comedy; it's about relationships. The horrible one Hanks has with his father, Sally Fields's relationship with her husband, and the Hanks-Fields friendship. The standup comedy subculture, mispresented or not, is just a vehicle to explore the characters' various dreams/disappointments. Like Rocky (Best Picture), Searching for Bobby Fischer, Rounders, etc., it's a good movie that emphasizes character and theme, not an accurate representation of a particular subculture.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-09-06 10:33, rinpoche wrote:

As a comic in the late-80's, when Punchline came out, I personally enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, the subculture was misrepresented, but that pretty much happens every time something you're involved in gets represented on screen (see also: chess, poker, boxing, magic, and whatever hobbies/interests/occupations/avocations YOU may have). Sure, I found it somewhat annoying, but that movie isn't ABOUT comedy; it's about relationships. The horrible one Hanks has with his father, Sally Fields's relationship with her husband, and the Hanks-Fields friendship. The standup comedy subculture, mispresented or not, is just a vehicle to explore the characters' various dreams/disappointments. Like Rocky (Best Picture), Searching for Bobby Fischer, Rounders, etc., it's a good movie that emphasizes character and theme, not an accurate representation of a particular subculture.




You may have done stand-up in the 80's, but had you depended on it as your livelihood for many years, I don't think you would have been so receptive to the film. Yes, no matter what the subject matter of film, in the end it's about human relationships. My point is, there was simply no need to be so off the mark. The 80's comedy scene was so fascinating-- (being on the road as a young comic, and living with the comedy "vets", experiencing the fast life for the first time), the process of writing and developing material so interesting (including jamming at the bar after a show), there was no need to go off into fantasy-land of lockers and buying jokes. What made it particularly annoying (and, ultimately irresponsible, IMHO) was the fact that they made it look like Sally Field, someone just starting out, goes on stage for six months, then gets the Tonight Show. Lol. Whenever Johnny Carson would say, "Here's a young comedian making his first appearance on national TV", you can bet the guy had been working the clubs for at LEAST 7-8 years. The movie made stand-up look way too easy- which trivialized the accomplishments of those who DID make it to natl. TV after paying a lot of dues, and also gave the viewer a false sense of hope, that they could get on Carson in 6 months, too.
LobowolfXXX
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I think I put in enough time and made enough money to have a credible opinion on the matter, and I know full-time pros who like the movie as well. I also know a top-10 boxer who likes Rocky, even though clubfighters don't beat reigning heavyweight champions. I don't think that the movie trivialized anyone's accomplishments, and I don't think that you speak for "the rest of the comedy world" in saying that as a group, everyone was furious (as evidenced not only by my experience and the experience of friends I have who are comics, but the number of working pros who were attached to the project and appeared in it, though maybe your take the position that they were all sellouts.

"That's not realistic" doesn't translate into "bad movie" for me, and it certainly doesn't translate into "I'm furious about it." If your mileage varies, that's cool, but I have had more than enough experience and involvement in the industry to reasonably doubt that your experience is universal.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
gabelson
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On 2007-09-06 18:21, LobowolfXXX wrote:
I think I put in enough time and made enough money to have a credible opinion on the matter, and I know full-time pros who like the movie as well. I also know a top-10 boxer who likes Rocky, even though clubfighters don't beat reigning heavyweight champions. I don't think that the movie trivialized anyone's accomplishments, and I don't think that you speak for "the rest of the comedy world" in saying that as a group, everyone was furious (as evidenced not only by my experience and the experience of friends I have who are comics, but the number of working pros who were attached to the project and appeared in it, though maybe your take the position that they were all sellouts.

"That's not realistic" doesn't translate into "bad movie" for me, and it certainly doesn't translate into "I'm furious about it." If your mileage varies, that's cool, but I have had more than enough experience and involvement in the industry to reasonably doubt that your experience is universal.




Didn't mean to suggest your opinion wasn't credible. And I agree that "not realistic" doesn't translate to "bad movie"- but there was no NEED to present stand-up in a simplistic light. It didn't make a "just ok" film more entertaining. Had they simply told it like it is, the movie would have been far more layered and rich. It would be one thing if the stand-up world were boring- however it's anything but. If you read the new book "True Stories From The Road From America's Top Comics", by two 30-year veterans of stand-up, Mark Schiff and Rich Shydner, you'll see why the book gets 4-1/2 stars on Amazon, and is a Publisher's Weekly pick. It's everything "Punch Line" could have, and should have been. It's the reason "Comedian" is a much better (and more interesting) film than "Punchline", and why people have responded to it (see other posts). Like you, I had many friends in "Punch Line", including Max Alexander, Barry Neikrug, and Suzie Essman (LONG before "Curb Your Enthusiasm") who was Sally Field's advisor on the film. It was a great gig for them at the time, and fun for all. And you're right- I can't speak for the comedy world as a group, but I will tell you that in my 17 years of making a solid living as a stand-up, I don't know one other comedian who thinks "Punch Line" is a good movie-- stand-up accuracy aside. Tom Hanks and Sally Field are both wonderful actors- but this is far from their greatest work.
You mentioned boxing. Even the most casual of boxing fans knows that a 2-bit clubfighter isn't likely to beat a heavyweight champ. However, I can't even BEGIN to count the amount of times people asked me after I did a stand-up set, "Do you do different stuff every night?" and "How do you remember all that material?", not realizing it takes months and months to hone most jokes into gems, and by that time, you know your act backwards and forwards. If you are indeed a working stand-up, Lobowolf, you are well-aware of how many people think we just "wing it" every night. And in that sense, the movie certainly did trivialize the process. In fact, many people are shocked when told I have served as the head monologue writer for David Letterman and staff writer for Leno, saying, "I thought those guys wrote their own jokes." That is the general perception.

Meanwhile, I'm sure every comic would be thrilled to have a "locker" at the club. Most comics are just happy when the check doesn't bounce.
LobowolfXXX
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On 2007-09-06 20:03, gabelson wrote:

Meanwhile, I'm sure every comic would be thrilled to have a "locker" at the club. Most comics are just happy when the check doesn't bounce.


LOL Indeed. I agree with pretty much everything you have to say about the movie and its misrepresentation of the business; it just didn't sour my opinion of it. While I don't think it's the best work of anyone involved, I honestly DO think that it's right up there from an acting perspective, not only from Hanks & Field, but John Goodman in a relatively minor role that he does well. As for boxing...talk about guys who suffer for years before anyone ever hears of them...eesh.

Your posts have made me extremely interested to check out Comedian, though...it's refreshing (and oh so rare) to see a subculture represented accurately in film. I'll pick up that book, too...thanks for the tip.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Hansen
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Jerry Seinfeld is a genius. He's the modern Michelangelo of comedy. And yes, the doco 'Comedian' is wonderful, fascinating, enlightening, entertaining etc etc. Highly recommended.
sirbrad
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Also loved the commentaries, and special features. I liked the clips that showed "how comedy was made," while Jerry was eating cereal, or in the shower and the idea just came to him. Magicians go through the same thing, especially creative innovators. You can be doing absolutely anything and have a great idea just pop up.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Al Angello
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Jerry is a genius.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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phillipsje
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I agree with Al.
Review King
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I remember a Dangerfield HBO special with a few guys, Seinfeld, Robert Townsend, etc. They had good sets. And then Sam Kinison came out. BLEW the roof off the place. It was after Sam's first breakout spot with Dangerfield and he was just so funny.

Kinnison own HBO sepcial in '87 was the funniest I've ever seen. I was crying watching it. DEEP hurtful belly laughter.

The first two years of Seinfeld were horrific ( Jerry admits this as well ). The show should have been cancelled. And then Jsson Alexander and Michael Richards "found" their characters and lookout. It then was through the roof funny and cutting edge. Most of this due to Larry David. That show would not have made it without him.

Jerry was always going to make it. Maybe not as big as with the show. But..he had confidance. He absolutely couldn't understand friends that dropped out to work "real jobs".

Nothing harder than stand up.

Steve Martin was brilliant. And I respect him so much for leaving it. He said it got to the point that no matter what he said, they screamed laughing. So he walked away.

But, here I go talking like I know it all. I'm an oustider looking in. Unless you lived it like Gabe, we really don't know as much as we think we do about it all.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
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