I love funny people so I knew I’d have a good time watching writer/ director Kevin Pollak’s documentary, Misery Loves Comedy. It’s a film that has a mixture of funny people from comedians to actors and filmmakers all answering the question: ‘Do you have to be miserable to be funny?’
I’ll start by saying that I had a good time overall but I did find some of the editing a tad odd, especially in the first two thirds. Secondly, maybe because I already know plenty about funny people and thats why I didn’t feel as enlightened by what most of the comics had to say. Thirdly, the number of people featured is a lot. Perhaps it would have been more interesting had the documentary been about a handful of celebrated funny people, therefore allowing for more in depth interviews and probably less jarring editing. Last but not least, as much as I love Steve Coogan, Richard Lewis, Amy Schumer, etc., it didn’t help that nearly none of my favourites comics made an appearance in this documentary; Louis C.K. to name just one.
The part I loved the most in Misery Loves Comedy is towards the end because that’s when the comics finally answer the question of whether one needs to be miserable to be funny. Another way to ask the question is ‘whether a person is born funny or if it’s something they develop.’ One of the best answers I’ve heard isn’t actually in this documentary, but in a Kjersti Flaa interview with Louis C.K. where C.K.’s response is…
‘I definitely don’t think you can be born funny. Funny happens to you. It’s like you can’t be taught how to be emotionally a wreck. Funny is a defence mechanism.’
Amen to that is what I say! Sometimes it’s a matter of whether you find a way to focus on the funny side or you wallow – and sometimes if you cant quite see the funny side, it’s wise to let your favourite funny person help you do that and/ or take your mind elsewhere.
Watch Misery Loves Comedy because you’re curious about funny people. It may not feature all your top favourite comics, but you’ll enjoy the entertaining company nonetheless.
Happy Film Loving