#Tribeca 2015: Serious Business

04/23/2015 9:00 AM |

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Misery Loves Comedy
Directed by Kevin Pollak

Kevin Pollak has a simple question: are comedians predisposed to depression, or is it the other way around? To answer it, he’s assembled a murderer’s row of famous comedians and celebrities (including some, like William H. Macy, who he apparently ran into randomly and interviewed just ‘cause), trying to find what makes them tick. The subjects talk about their funny dads, what Pollak calls “look at me” syndrome, and how it feels to bomb, but unless you’ve never read or seen an interview with a comedian, none of it will come as a surprise. Given the abundance of talent on display here, the film is always engaging to watch, but a lot of the answers are similar, which means the film quickly becomes repetitive, and it suffers from not having any illustrative clips (perhaps the rights were too expensive?).

This would be a diverting way to spend an evening on Netflix, but it never digs too deeply into its central question, or into any other aspect of being a comedian. The film is dedicated to the memory of Robin Williams, but anyone hoping to understand the actor’s tragic end will have to look elsewhere.

NYC theatrical release begins on Friday, April 24, following Tribeca screenings