I Am Comic

Movie Information

Genre: Documentary
Director: Jordan Brady (Waking Up in Reno)
Starring: Ritch Shydner, Sarah Silverman, Carlos Mencia, Jim Gaffigan, Tim Allen
Rated: NR

It’s been said to dissect comedy is like trying to wrestle it to the floor and break its arm—the point being, of course, that explaining what makes a thing funny will almost certainly render it unfunny. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen with Jordan Brady’s documentary I Am Comic, a film that tries less to explain what funny is than to present the reason that some people are compelled to be comics. More or less built around a comeback attempt by retired comic Ritch Shydner, giving the film a structure, this is an interesting, entertaining and sometimes enlightening look at the world of stand-up comedy.

Perhaps the most notable thing about I Am Comic is the amazing array of stand-up comedians the film manages to assemble. Among others, it boasts Tim Allen (who freely admits to having become “everything I hate” by virtue of success), Tom Arnold, Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Louis C.K., Jeff Foxworthy, Janeane Garofalo, Bobcat Goldthwait, Kathy Griffin, Carlos Mencia, Paul Rodriguez, Roseanne Barr, Sarah Silverman and Carrot Top. They even drag in 93-year-old Phyllis Diller—something you don’t see every day. There’s a certain irony in this playing this week, since conspicuous by her absence is Joan Rivers, with the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work opening on Friday. Her non-appearance here actually sheds light on the attitude she expresses in that documentary. (When people think to include Paul Rodriguez and Carrot Top, but overlook you, something is amiss.)

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

7 thoughts on “I Am Comic

  1. Jordan Brady

    Joan Rivers was certainly not overlooked, she turned us down. I urge fans of stand-up and indie film to see both movies.


    Jordan Brady
    Director, “I AM COMIC”

  2. Ken Hanke

    I stand — or rather sit — corrected. Did she say why she turned you down?

  3. Ken Hanke

    Was she a producer of her documentary?

    She’s not listed as one, which is kind of surprising that she didn’t jockey to get that credit.

  4. Jordan Brady

    We went through typical channels with Ms. Rivers, which means she may not have ever been offered the interview. I congratulated her on the plane to Park City (she going to Sundance, me to Slamdance.) When I told her of “I AM COMIC” she politely said “oh fabulous, good luck.” As if I were from Uranus. (Funniest planet.) Also missing from my film are Chris Rock (shooting a movie) and my old pal Dave Chappelle. Mr. Chappelle simply is in hiding.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.