Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Now for Comedy, Kung Fu

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Now for Comedy, Kung Fu

Article excerpt

The "Avengers" aren't the only game or movie in town. Also opening:

'Misery Loves Comedy'

** 1/2

A little fear and misery can be a comic's best friend. As Matthew Perry says, "There's nowhere where I'm funnier than a doctor's office." Even late-night host Jimmy Fallon concedes, "I hate to say it, I really do, I just think you're funnier when you're miserable."

They are among 60 funny men and women interviewed by Kevin Pollak for a wide-ranging documentary about how they suffered from the "Hey, look at me" disease as children, how being funny was a hedge against unpopularity or being bullied, how they got into the business, how making strangers laugh can feel as if adrenaline and blood are shooting through your head (like crystal meth, says Tom Hanks of all people) and how comedians gravitate toward each other, and even what it feels like to bomb big time.

Jason Alexander recalls ill-advisedly cracking wise about following the announcement of a death at one awards show and the acceptance of a posthumous honor, by actor Raul Julia's widow, at another. In fact, one critic singled it out as the most awkward moment of the 1995 awards shows.

Not everyone interviewed made the final cut but the documentary might have benefited from a bit more diversity, in terms of race and age. Maybe some comedians were unavailable during the one-week shoot in New York and three in Los Angeles.

It's wider than it is deep but it pulls the curtain back and you may walk away agreeing with actor William H. Macy: "I wouldn't do stand-up with a gun to my head." Or without.

Opens today at Rowhouse Cinema, Lawrenceville, as part of a week of documentaries. No MPAA rating but R in nature for language.

- Barbara Vancheri, PG movie editor

'Kung Fu Killer'

** 1/2

Kung fu epics and serial killer dramas occupy different ends of the mall of cinematic genres. Until veteran martial arts director Teddy Chen combined the two in "Kung Fu Killer," there was nothing inevitable about such a mashup. …

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