Plot: What’s it about?
Jerry Seinfeld will be remembered for his show (TV’s ‘Seinfeld’), first and foremost. It ran for eight years, was named by TV Guide as the best show…ever and the sheer popularity of it has made the four stars idols forever. But Jerry Seinfeld is just a man like everyone else. After the show ended, he went back on his standup circuit and did something that no other comic has ever done before…he retired all of his previous material and has started fresh with all-new material. This documentary follows his “comeback” of sorts and splices it with that of a younger comic by the name of Orny Adams. And you’d think that being Jerry Seinfeld wouldn’t be all that bad. The guy is worth who knows how many millions of dollars (if you look closely during the movie, you’ll see him driving a Porsche and a BMW), has the world in the palm of his hand and is adored by countless fans. So why, oh why, is he sweating his night club gigs at local New York bars? Conversely, Orny Adams is the opposite of Jerry. He’s not the relaxed, laid back guy that Jerry is, he’s an arrogant 29 year-old up and coming comic that feels that he’s served his time and now deserves to hit it big. The documentary mostly takes a look at the life of Jerry Seinfeld (after ‘Seinfeld’), but also focuses on that of Orny Adams as well.
This isn’t a movie. It’s not a work of fiction, they’re real people and the events that happen in it really happened. As we all know, Jerry did mount somewhat of a comeback, most notably with his appearance on the David Letterman show a few years ago. What the film tries to show is that even though he’s a major star, he’s still troubled by nerves, anxiety and the need to come up with some truly funny material. Talking with friends Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Colin Quinn, Kevin Nealon and Gary Shandling we see that he’s not alone. They all marvel at how the true legends of the game (Robert Klein, Stephen Wright and Bill Cosby) can do what they did, but no matter how big their stars shine; they’re human like everyone else and their emotions sometimes take control. Counter this with Orny Adams, who is given the chance of a lifetime (being managed by ‘Seinfeld’ producer George Shapiro) and nothing has really come of his career. He’s got an attitude problem, has been given his chances but feels he deserves fame just because he’s been in the game for the past eight years. What Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian does show is that there is life behind the stage and not just on it. No matter how funny we think these guys are and no matter how good that they think they are, they’re just like the rest of us…only with more money.
Video: How does it look?
The film, being a documentary, does have its drawbacks when it comes to the video presentation. The full-frame presentation isn’t enhanced for widescreen televisions and the lack of that enhancement does leave some errors in the transfer. Then again, documentaries aren’t meant to be that visually pleasing to the eyes. There are several low light shots that show some serious grain and artifacting and though edge enhancement isn’t that much of a factor, the proper lighting isn’t what we’re used to. This isn’t a great transfer, not un-watchable mind you, but it’s not meant to be.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is a different story. There is a Dolby Surround option that is ok, but there is also a 5.1 track that sounds pretty good. The dialogue is limited to the front channel, that’s ok though, because there is some very jazzy music that almost constantly eminates form the surrounds and giving the film a depth that I wouldn’t think it had. Now don’t get me wrong, as it’s not that big of a deal (the sound isn’t that good); but for what I was expecting and what I got was a nice surprise…and that’s nice.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Looking at the cover, you might expect it to be another typical bare bones Disney release. Not so. Sporting not one, but two audio commentary tracks the first is with the Director and Producer; but the real gem is the second track with Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn. Quinn didn’t have a big part in the movie, but he’s a well-established comic like Seinfeld (though not nearly as famous). The two, though hard to hear, have a great time watching the film and have a lot to offer in terms of little quips and such (as we would expect stand-up comics to do). The second track is recommended highly. The two original performances that appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman are intact on the disc as well. Orny Adams and Jerry Seinfeld’s skits look great and it is an interesting watch after you’ve watched the documentary itself. Five deleted scenes are included, but are also available with commentary from the director. He tells why they were cut and it essentially made sense. The highlight of these is when Orny leaves to go to LA. Jimmy Glick, a fictional character with his own show (played by Martin Short) has interviews with both Orny Adams and Jerry Seinfeld in the promotion of this documentary; they are included in their enterity. A segment I felt was interesting was called “Where is Orny Now?” He has moved out to LA and signed a deal with Warner Brothers to develop his own show. Evidently it didn’t work out (have you ever heard of “The Orny Adams Show”?) and he’s now back on the stand up circuit, albeit in Los Angeles. Somewhat jaded, as always, he seems to be happy and still as cocky as ever. Some advertising is included with the Theatrical Trailer, some posters and even some short commercials to promote the film. The most lame feature, though, is the notes entitled “Anatomy of a Joke”. It’s simply shots of their notes that we can’t even read. Overall, a very interesting disc and a nice change of pace from our normal Hollywood grog…