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Alone Up There

By AP KRYZA
[ONE NIGHT ONLY, DIRECTOR ATTENDING] It's no small feat to put dozens of funny people on camera and come up with 90 laugh-free minutes, but documentarian Sean Patrick Shaul accomplishes it tenfold with Alone Up There, an examination of the quest for the almighty laugh. Shaul sets out to find what makes these folks—including Marc Maron, Paul Scheer, Erik Griffin and many others—spend their lives cracking jokes, and he ultimately unearths what everybody already knows: Comics endure hecklers, stage fright, long nights on the road and substance abuse. The obviousness would be forgiven if the insights were funny, but they're delivered with straight faces and a complete lack of irony, highlighted by Iliza Shlesinger waxing about sacrifices while getting a pedicure. The film plods toward a climax in which Shaul takes the stage after being coached by pros, a courageous move that comes up short when he includes only one minute of his flop of a set. Had he presented his glorious train wreck in its entirety, maybe he would have helped his audience understand comedy's hurdles. Instead, he's made an utterly straight-faced film with little insight that feels like a freshman thesis paper about comedy but forgets to be funny in the process.
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater. 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 24
 
  • Genres: Comedy, Documentary
  • Running Time: 85 minutes
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: C-
  • Directed by: Sean Shaul [Director], Sean Shaul [Screenwriter], Sean Shaul [Executive Producer], Eddie Rochfort [Executive Producer], Dan Davidson [Original Music], Ari Mastoras [Original Music], Greg Williamson [Original Music]
  • Watch the trailer
 

Show Times

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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