Misery Loves Comedy

Synopsis: A group of stand-up comics, comedic actors and comedic filmmakers are individually interviewed about different aspects of the profession especially as it relates to their personal life. The topics of questions and answers include: the relationship with their parents with regard to their comedy; why they chose what is a natural kid's path of wanting attention as a career; when and/or how they discovered how comedy really works; the rush or high of performing; the need for public adoration; the comics that they admired early in their career and what material they may have stolen from other comics; when they knew their comedy had matured to professional status; the feeling of bombing; the relationship with peers, especially in comparison to relationships with non-comics; and the process of putting in the countless hours. The ultimate question placed to them is do you have to be miserable to be funny?
Director(s): Kevin Pollak
Production: Tribeca Films
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

Am I gonna get fed?

There's like a table,

I'm leaning on it,

I feel like I'm alone

in an airport.

What's the second question?

God, that's a great question.


Let me see that.

I'm curious if you're just

making this up at this point.

I will never be seen

on camera nor my voice heard.

It's one of those things where

you kind of have to reiterate

the question and the answer.

Hey, then you have a shot at a hit.

Do you think emotionally

questionable people

are drawn to stand-up

slash performing?

It was a way for me to deal

with my chronic shyness

and introversion.

I'm crazy already, so don't try

and make me the responsible one.

Or are they done in by the life

that opens up to them?

I don't know if all comics

go through this, where you go,

"I'm never gonna be funny again.

I don't know how

I was able to go this far."

But I always assert that the

funniest people aren't comedians,

just like the best-looking girls

aren't models or whatever.

You'll meet people

that are shoe store salesmen

that'll f***ing knock you over.

And then it's just my job

to sit there and yell at drunks.

And that's kind of the difference

between comedy and theater.

But I can do that.

I'm from a large family.

It's okay if I use all that, right?

Use whatever you want.

You know, here's the thing, that

you can use whatever you want

because what's gonna happen?

You're gonna get people...

They're gonna not call me?

They're already

not calling me, so...

so it doesn't matter what I say.

The Mexicans, the Jews,

the Blacks, the Irish.

Not a lot of funny Germans.

It'd be much better if you were mediocre,

'cause if you were mediocre,

then you would actually have

to get good at something else,

and you know, comedy would be just

something you do by the water cooler.

But if you're truly

brilliant at being funny,

then, yeah, you can guarantee

that your marriages are not gonna work

and your kids will turn out f***ed up.

Well, this is a deep question.



What's the name of this thing?

"Misery Loves Comedy."

And do you think that's true?

That's the last question, so wait.


My dad was always

the funny guy of the family.

My dad made me laugh

a whole lot.

My dad.

My dad.

My father.

My father was probably

the first guy that I said,

"Oh, man, he's funny."

It wasn't that

his jokes were great,

but I could see the silliness

and I saw that, uh, how much fun

he was having

making other people laugh.

And he always had a ton of,

like, basic, like,

down the middle street jokes

and I would see him, like, kill.

- He loved... Can I swear?

- Please, yes.

He also loved, like,

sh*t jokes and fart jokes,

so I still don't like 'em,

'cause that's my rebellion.

He told me, he said,

"If you swallow gum,

your sh*t comes out

like a yo-yo."

And I didn't find out until

years later that he was lying.

He would just make up these

crazy stories about my life.

He said...

there's this Pakistani dish

called biryani

that's my favorite...

and he said, "Oh, it's 'cause

when you were a little baby,

we dropped you in

a pot of it and we forgot."

And I didn't know until

I was 13 that that was a lie,

'cause it was just

part of my reality.

I was like, "Oh, yeah,

that's what happened to me."

And he was like, "No, I was just

trying to impress your mom."

Like, he was flirting

with my mom. I'm like...

As he was five-years-old,

he's flirting with your mom.

Yeah, yeah.

I was like, "I think

it's in the bag, I'm five.

I think you got this one."

Um, so, yeah, my dad

was always very funny.

My dad and I don't really

get along that well.

He's actually stepdad,

and was not supportive

at all of the career.

In fact, at one point,

I played ukulele in my act

and did very well, got on television

doing it, the whole thing,

but I remember the first time

I played the ukulele for him,

he just looked at me

and was like,

"What the hell do you think

you're gonna do with that?"

But I did have, like,

so many teachers, especially...

There was a teacher

named Mr. Beasley,

psychology teacher,

and he was just, like,

"Wayne, you really

got something.

"Like, you're funny in class,

you're not disruptive, you're smart.

Like, you should try this.

You should definitely try this."

I was like, "Oh."

So she was always like, "Yeah,

this is never gonna happen.

You're insane. I don't know what you're

doing. Nobody knows what you're doing."

My father was pretty low-key,

but my father was like,

"You happy? Good."

My father was a lot

f***ing smarter about it.

My dad was funny, but not in

the way he thought he was funny,

so he would try to tell a joke,

or tell a joke that

he thought was funny

and then he would laugh very

loudly at the end of the joke

and everyone around

the table would kind of...

You'd hear the "clink,

clink, clink" of the cutlery

as the joke didn't land.

And then you'd think,

"Please, I don't want

to catch anyone's eye,

'cause if I do,

I'm just gonna go."

She came to the show

two hours early

and stood in the lobby

and introduced herself

to every person who came in.

"Hi, I'm Blanche Lewis,

I'm his mother.

Hi. You're coming

to see my son."

So everyone knew her

and she sat right in

the middle of the theater.

So I say, "So my father,

you know, he had six penises..."

I'm just saying something dumb,

and she would literally,

I don't want to get out of shot,

she'd stand up and go...

"Oh, Bill never had six penises.

How dare you?!"

It was absolutely

the oddest show,

'cause they all went, "Boo!

You're putting your dad down."

No, it was a joke

before she showed up.

HBO used to do

a thing in Bryant Park,

where you'd face the library

and they would

have comics on stage,

live, and no censorship

during afternoons in the summer.

My mother and father

happened to be in for that

and the place is packed

and it's spectacular to be able

to yell the word "f***"

and throw it out

and have it hit the library

and bounce back at you is...

It's like heaven.

And the crowd was great.

I finished up

and my mother goes,

"Oh, my God,

they really do like you."

There's always been a judgment.

"That was funny."

Almost like a comic, like,

"I know, but you

should have laughed."

"Oh, I was thinking about it,

if there was any ways

to improve it."

I just did Letterman last week.

He found...

"I found no room

for improvement."

That's always

the first thing out of...


you can tell David Letterman,

"if you have a chance, I don't

know if he's talkative,

"that that set is too busy.

"I mean, why are you standing

in front of New York City?

"What... what is that?

There should be a nice curtain

that goes with your outfit."

Well, you let me

get right on that.

By the way, he's not wrong.

He's not wrong.

That's the frustrating part.

He's not wrong.

If you change your mind, you can

always go back to Conan, right?

I mean, that was

literally, within...

that was within the 10 seconds

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Kevin Pollak

Kevin Elliot Pollak (born October 30, 1957) is an American actor, impressionist, and comedian. He has appeared in over 80 films, his most notable roles including Sam Weinberg in the legal film A Few Good Men, Jacob Goldman in Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men; Todd Hockney in The Usual Suspects, Philip Green in Casino, and Bobby Chicago in End of Days. Pollak is an avid poker player, hosting weekly home games with some of Hollywood's A-list celebrities. He finished 134th out of 6,598 entrants in the 2012 World Series of Poker, his winnings totaling to $52,718. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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