Comedian Review

Oct 23, 2002 | 12:58pm EDT

This documentary follows superstar Jerry Seinfeld as he returns to stand-up trying out all-new jokes on tour. Along the way he meets newbie and fiercely driven young comic Orny Adams who aces his gig at Montreal's classic comedy festival and lands a dream manager (Seinfeld's own George Shapiro). From the Gotham Comedy Club Standup New York Carolines and the Comic Strip to gigs on the Tonight Show and Letterman Comedian tracks the progress of many a talented stand-up comic famous and not so who follow their dreams and obsessions to bravely try to make it solo. A trove of master comics like Bill Cosby Ray Romano Jay Leno Garry Shandling and Chris Rock share their wisdom jokes and war stories throughout. Seinfeld's behind-the-scenes preparation to go before a large theater audience suggests that the comic is ultimately motivated by love--the immediate instant gratification love from a big live receptive adoring loud audience.

A film with such appealing and charismatic personalities as Jerry Seinfeld Chris Rock Garry Shandling Jay Leno Bill Cosby and lesser-knowns can't miss having immense appeal. Seinfeld at his peak conveys immense charm and humor. His humbling yen to return to his stand-up roots further endears. Some comics captured like funny guy Colin Quinn suggest that life in the funny lane is irresistible though not without speed bumps and soft shoulders. But Leno proclaims that if you don't do the stand-up you don't have it. A final segment that has Seinfeld making a big return to stand-up in an awesomely gorgeous venue suggests why the thrill of going it alone is never gone.

Director Christian Charles (who directed Seinfeld in his award-winnning Amex commercials) mans one of the two DV cameras that captured the action and delivers the goods. Direction is straightforward and focused allowing the stand-up comics megastars or otherwise to always hold center stage. Charles understands that camera tricks are redundant since his compelling subjects will do the trick. Film clocks in at a peppy 81 minutes and is propelled by a jazzy score.

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