No other art or entertainment form spends so much time discussing and dissecting itself as much as comedy. In “Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian,” few-to-no conversations take place on a topic that isn’t comedy related. It’s a flawed gauntlet of a documentary, a much more poignant expose of the tortuous artistic process of comedians than Seinfeld’s most recent doc, “Jerry Before Seinfeld.” The movie makes you feel like you’re on stage with the comedians during their successes, or huddling into the tattered leather booths when they bust.
Directed by Christian Charles, the movie focuses on the careers of Seinfeld and an up-and-coming 29-year-old comic named Orny Adams. Seinfeld, of course, is famous, and isn’t subject to the same scrutiny that bustling young comics are, but is trying out new material for the heck of it. Adams is making a name for himself along the east coast , but is apprehensive at taking advice from other comedians in fear of losing his personal spark. Their paths really only collide once, where Adams is confiding in Seinfeld about his fears of career inadequacy compared to his more successful Wall St. type friends. But as his appearance at a Montreal comedy festival, a set on the Late Show, and even his current IMDb page prove, Adams doesn’t have much to worry about.
The frame is filled with neurosis and self-doubt. The movie looks like it was shot on a thrift store VHS camera. The editing is haphazard and makes the film feel overlong. But its intriguing enough for the longer clips of Seinfeld and Adams explaining their comedic process. It may not be the best film or piece of media to illustrate the trials and tribulations of the stand up comic, but it does capture their genuine love for the craft better than any film I can remember.