Il più divertente trailer del cinema. Dal film “Comedian”

Pubblicato: 11 dicembre 2011 in cinema
Tag:, , ,


A hilarious movie trailer for the Jerry Seinfeld film COMEDIAN. It sends up movies trailers and promos in general, and stars the Dean of the East Coast Trailer narrators, Hal Douglas, as the despised “In a World” Guy. Funny for insiders, as he is playing himself.


Ecco la recensione del NYT, scritta da A. O. SCOTT  l’11 ottobre del 2002.

Back in the late 1990’s, when I was a book reviewer for another newspaper, my editor called me up one day with with some constructive criticism. ”Do you really need to have a ‘Seinfeld’ reference in every single piece?” she asked. I shamefacedly admitted that no, I probably didn’t, but I doubt I was alone in using the show as a crutch to hobble through the zeitgeist — a handy source of one-liners, second-hand insights and yadda yadda yadda. (Sorry. Old habits die hard.) Since the show went off the air, I’ve managed to move on. ”The Simpsons” continues to supply a steady diet of sitcom allusions; John Stewart on Comedy Central satisfies the need for a horse-faced New York comedian; and Larry David, the éminence grise of ”Seinfeld’s” glory days, is on HBO, playing a character so dyspeptic and unpleasant that he makes George, Jerry, Kramer and Elaine look like Teletubbies by comparison.

The ”Seinfeld” cast members, of course, have had a harder time moving on. While they have enjoyed some success hawking pretzels, hair coloring and soft drinks, their television comedy ventures have come to grief. And what about Mr. Seinfeld himself? His predicament is not unlike that of another 90’s figure, Bill Clinton. Having reached a professional pinnacle, and then climbed down at a relatively young age, what do you do next? ”Comedian,” a brisk new documentary directed by Christian Charles (who worked on Mr. Seinfeld’s American Express commercials, as did the producer, Gary Steiner), supplies an answer.


After his series made him wealthy and successful beyond measure, the comedian decided to break into the small time, returning to the din, smoke and exposed brick of the comedy-club circuit in the hopes of becoming master of a more circumscribed domain. (That’s the last one. I swear.)

After his 1998 HBO special ”I’m Telling You for the Last Time,” Mr. Seinfeld retired the material he had been developing since the late 70’s and set about building a new act from scratch. Judging from the bits displayed in ”Comedian,” which opens nationwide today, the content may be new, but the tenor of his humor has not changed: it is still fastidiously unconfessional, apolitical and immersed in the banalities of modern consumer culture.

But the film is neither a showcase for Mr. Seinfeld’s act nor a glimpse of his private, offstage self. Though his wife and baby sometimes hover at the margins of the frame, the performer for the most part maintains the genial, jokey, heavily defended facade that has become so familiar. Instead of prying into his soul, the filmmakers investigate his working conditions and offer a sort of backstage ethnographic study of the professional stand-up culture.

”Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Mr. Charles, equipped with an off-the-rack digital video camera, illustrates the truth of this axiom. Taking the stage with a wooden stool and a glass of water and riffing on answering-machine etiquette, lipstick and the meaning of the phrase ”think tank” might look easy, but those who do it for a living approach their work with fanatical discipline and are prey to constant anxiety and self-doubt.

Of course, Mr. Seinfeld’s fame confers certain advantages, material and otherwise. Instead of taking his act on the road, he takes to the sky in a chartered jet, and it is hard to imagine that any nightclub booker would turn him away. Perhaps more important, he can count on the immediate goodwill of audiences, who are predisposed to laugh even when he freezes, flails or misses his beats.

But still, he frets over tiny nuances and details, and pushes himself to expand his routine. One thing we learn is that, like most creative artists, comedians are rarely satisfied with their work or sure of their standing in the profession. Some of the best moments in ”Comedian” comes when Mr. Seinfeld is in the company of his peers: guys (and they all seem to be guys) who have made it but who retain some of the nervous hunger of their earlier days. When Mr. Seinfeld hangs with Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling, Robert Klein or Jay Leno (among others), you witness the rivalry and camaraderie among members of a guild who share the belief that they have dues yet to pay.

Mr. Seinfeld’s arduous downward journey toward the middle level of celebrity is presented in counterpoint with the restless climb of a young comic named Orny Adams, whose hunger for fame is so acute that you fear he might devour everything in sight. His act seems to get over more on furious energy than on finely tuned insight; you laugh because you’re a little afraid of what he might do to himself, or to you, if you don’t. But his maniacal devotion to the showbiz work ethic is undeniable.

”Comedian” follows him through some promising successes: he is taken up by George Shapiro, Mr. Seinfeld’s manager and a legendary figure in the world of comedy, and lands a spot on the David Letterman show. But Mr. Adams seems to hover perpetually on the brink of self-destruction. When veterans, including Mr. Seinfeld, offer advice and encouragement, Mr. Adams bristles, but their cool professionalism is what he lacks.

Show business, according to ”Comedian,” is both meritocratic and hierarchical. There is always someone to look up to, and in Mr. Seinfeld’s case it is Bill Cosby. At one point, Mr. Rock, with undisguised awe, tells Mr. Seinfeld about Mr. Cosby’s stage show, which lasts for two and a half hours without warm-up act or intermission, and the film ends with Mr. Seinfeld’s pilgrimage to meet with his idol backstage in Newark.

Mr. Seinfeld absorbs the older man’s advice and encouragement with quiet reverence, and when he tries to explain what Mr. Cosby has meant to him, all his facetiousness drains away and his voice breaks with emotion. This moment provides an apt finishing touch on a portrait of a man who can make a joke out of anything — except comedy, which, after all, is a serious business.

”Comedian” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). These comedians use language tailored for nightclubs and cable television, not network prime time.


Directed by Christian Charles; directors of photography, Mr. Charles and Gary Streiner; edited by Chris Franklin; produced by Mr. Streiner; released by Miramax Films. Running time: 81 minutes. This film is rated R.

WITH: Jerry Seinfeld.

Leggi la recensione del NYT qui


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