Happy Monday morning, everybody. Just a friendly reminder that if you have not yet seen Jordan Brady's stand-up comedy documentary, I Am Comic, then you have a chance to see it and more tonight in New York City at the IFC Center.
Brady will be there for the 8 p.m. screening tonight, along with expected in-person appearances by Lizz Winstead, Eddie Brill, Nikki Glaser, Wayne Federman, Judy Gold, William Stephenson, & Ritch Shydner. Tickets run $7.50 (IFC Center members) up to $12.50. It screens as part of the center's "Best of Slamdance" series.
Related: You can read my review of I Am Comic and watch my video interview with Jordan Brady about it!
Is I Am Comic the best documentary about stand-up comedy? Not entirely sure about that just yet, although the DVD and extras might tip the scales. Certainly, Jordan Brady's I Am Comic gives viewers one of the broadest looks inside the minds and the world of working stand-up comedians. And sometimes one of the silliest. Near the top of the 85-minute film, Dave Attell mocks the very idea of a stand-up documentary and suggests that perhaps the only way to do it right would be to interview comedians while they lick giant lollipops. Since this is a film about comedians by a comedian, you can rest assured that'll get covered.
Brady introduces himself as a former stand-up, and as a guy who toured the road with Ritch Shydner, Brady visits Shydner's home to enlist him in getting comedians to talk on camera. In doing so, the film becomes a bit of a companion piece or sequel to "I Killed," the book of comedy road stories that Shydner had compiled several years ago. The comedians who talk to Shydner and Brady run the gamut from Jeff Foxworthy, Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffigan, Tim Allen, Tommy Davidson, Brian Regan, Nikki Glaser (who invites them into the Tampa Improv comedy condo), Margaret Cho, Carlos Mencia (who -- believe it or not -- admits to stealing jokes and ideas from other comedians! Spoiler alert!), Kathy Griffin, Carrot Top, Brent Weinbach, Nick Kroll, the Sklar Brothers, Todd Glass, Robert Schimmel and dozens more. Along the way, tracking down comedians and watching club shows, Shydner gets the itch to return to stand-up after a long absence, and this becomes a running subplot.
Watching it at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival (there is another screening there tonight) in a section surrounded by comedians, I could see that comedians laugh at different portions of the movie for different reasons than the general audience of comedy fans. That's not a bad thing. Just shows how the movie plays on both a broad level and an insidery one. I asked Brady about this and more along Portland's riverfront park. Here's what he had to say:
I Am Comic is scheduled for additional screenings May 10 in New York City, June at Just For Laughs Chicago, this summer on premium cable, and this fall on DVD.
Perhaps you have seen the clip circulating on the Internet this past week of Louis CK explaining how he took down a heckler? The comedian was shot talking on the streets of New York City as part of a new documentary by Jordan Brady on stand-up comedy, "I Am Comic," which makes its debut screening this Jan. 27-28 at the Slamdance Film Festival, the alternative to Sundance in nearby Salt Lake City.
"I Am Comic" explores the world of stand-up comedy, interviewing many practitioners of the game and also including a narrative arc for Ritch Shydner as he mounted a comeback to the stage after 13 years away from the circuit. Here's a clip in which several comedians -- including Sarah Silverman, Nick Kroll, Bobcat Goldthwait and Shydner -- talk about the pros and cons of being a stand-up in the age of social media networks and Internet videos. Roll it!
As Brady says on the Slamdance program:
"Mostly, I was a one-person crew. So I’d meet the comedian for the first time, then we’d go backstage where I’d wire them with a small microphone. There’s something very humbling about sticking your hand down someone’s pants that you’ve just met. Especially while holding a small camcorder."
I caught up with him on the Internet to ask him a follow-up or two, asking him how long it took to put the film together, and what his plans are for future screenings and distribution. His reply: "It took a year-plus to prep, shoot, edit. I plan to get distribution and tour the film with the comics showing up." He hopes to have it sold by February, when he also is planning a Los Angeles screening.
Brady was a stand-up comedian in the 1980s and early 1990s, and according to Wikipedia, he is credited with being the first comedian to create a shorthand soundtrack for porn. As in. Wait for it. Oh, you read the headline. Yes. "Bow-chicka-bow-wow!" True? And does he know that Comedy Central has this bit preserved and uploaded online, from an episode of "The A-List" that's listed as dating back to 1992? "Yes young Sean, that porno thing was as close to a signature bit as I got," Brady replied. "Yes, the Internet has allowed my children to laugh at me even more." Let's see the bit in question!
The Internet also says that in his comedic youth, Brady had guest parts in episodes of Baywatch, Dream On, Empty Nest, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Who's the Boss and even an after-school special! He went on to direct a few small independent movies, but since 2003, he has made his name and his career as a director of national TV ad campaigns. After the jump, I've included one of the hundreds of commercials Jordan Brady has helmed...
Trivia time: If you watch TV, I'm fairly sure you have seen this one. Meet...Erica!