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  Film Reviews: Comedian: The Orny Adams Show  
 

Tuesday, November 19
Comedian: The Orny Adams Show
comedian
It was an interesting weekend in Columbus. A violent hailstorm came and went. In its wake at our home, we were left with our first insurance claim for home damage and no power for 36 hours. It was Sunday night when the power went out. Monday evening, we’d had enough of board games and reading by candlelight. Roommate, husband and I were desperate for anything brought about by the magic of electricity. A movie following Jerry Seinfeld through the dark and smoky comedy clubs of New York seemed to be logical choice.

You might have remembered that little TV show “Seinfeld.” You might also remember a certain HBO special that was meant to showcase Jerry’s routine for the last time. Most of the country figured that this would mean Jerry would retire to spend his days rolling around in cash going “how ironic is it that I do nothing all day because I got rich off of a show about nothing?” The reality was that he was retiring every last one of his old jokes.

Even with his millions, Seinfeld chose to start his routine from scratch. This is about the development of new jokes and the subsequent testing of the new material over a year in the comedy clubs of New York. It is also about the obsessive need of the gifted comedian to work and improve his craft. Defying any need to protect self-esteem, Seinfeld allowed a film crew a year to watch what it takes to put together a new hour-long routine.

It is a painful process. While the scenes look reminiscent of a reunion of old friends. We learn that Seinfeld trades war stories with Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Gary Shandling, Jay Leno and Robert Klein on a regular basis. Each of them are successful, but each continue to work on new routines and discuss the pain of knowing that new jokes aren’t going to make it to your permanent routine.

We also meet Orny Adams. George Shapiro, who happens to be Seinfeld’s manager, newly represents Adams. I would assume that Orny was followed to show the equal pain of being an up-and-coming comedian with an established routine try to make it big. It is unfortunate that the majority of Orny’s humorous moments are inadvertent as we watch Orny describe in pontificated detail exactly how the universe revolves around him on a daily basis.

Orny is offered advice from some of the best comedic minds in the country – including Seinfeld. Our Orny, though, spends most of the listening portion of the advice exchange waiting for his moment to show of his witty side to these seasoned veterans. On those rare occasions when Orny actually listens, he acts as if he has been insulted. When Orny wonders to the camera what meetings in LA are being held about him (and what they might be saying), it becomes obvious that reality is not Orny’s strong suit.

We watch the veterans – those that have had television, film and writing deals – struggle to get their routines right. We watch Orny look to those deals and lament how his advanced age of 29 means that he might have already missed out on these deals.


The Usual:

What It’s Worth: It’s a good matinee if you’re interested in the creative process. Otherwise, wait for the HBO multi-view.

Main Reason To See This Film: Watch a professional, seasoned comedian in absolute awe of Bill Cosby try to be cool in front of Bill Cosby. See him freak out once he gets to his own car.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: Being forced to watch Orny Adams become increasingly impressed with the sound of his own voice. Bonus – watch Orny craft a fake neurotic personality in an attempt to camouflage his annoying personality.

Annoying Theater Goer: I was without power. It didn’t come on until 5:30 the next morning. I would have watched a movie with a group of hyper-active, self-centered 14-year-olds pumped full of caffeine and cough syrup and been happy.

MPAA Rating: R

Nudity: No.

   
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