So, I have been watching my oldest and best fiend Tom ‘do’ comedy for the past year or so at local open mikes. (The one he frequents is called Friday Night Live, happening, yes, say it with me, on Friday nights, in Clifton, and I urge you to get out to see some great live funny word speaking). Not that we both didn’t know this fact before, but Tom and I are seeing how hard stand-up is. Being primarily an acoustic guitarist/songwriter/singer, when I ‘play live,’ I at least have a guitar as a shield. These stand-up guys and girls have only a mike and their wits.
Talk about scary!
Anyway, my buddy Tom has grown in how he presents his stuff, how he writes it (which to him and me is the most important part of the game) the networking, all of it. Tough gig, but he digs it, and I dig seeing him finally getting to do what he has dreamed of doing for so long, and he gives me lots of chuckles.
Then I catch something like Bill Burr’s just released Netflix movie “Old Dads” and think…mmmm, a stand-up routine doesn’t necessarily make for a good movie, nor a stand-up comedian a great actor. Very much like Sebastian Maniscalco’s “About My Father,” which was, in my opinion, equally as abysmal as Burr’s flick, I found what I most laughed at were the visual realization of pieces of each comedian’s routines, their jokes, which I laughed at when I first heard them, writ large on screen in some visual scenario. But, beyond these moments, these great stand-up comedians, couldn’t sustain an hour and half with the substance of their acts, and in fact, they did so quite painfully.
I’m not saying Burr, Maniscalco even an Adam Sandler don’t translate well on screen, they do. Burr was great in “The King of Staten Island,” and Maniscalco in “The Irishman” (a movie that proved that even the great Martin Scorsese can make a clunker…and a long one at that!) and I have truly dug Sandler in lots of movies. But a stand-up routine and a movie are two different animals.
I know Netflix grabs these dudes for big money paydays because they know a Burr and certainly a Sandler are big names to the general public presently. Why not cash in? I get it, it makes sense to get product from anyone who is riding the crest of current popularity. This doesn’t mean though that you’ll get a good movie from someone just because a.) They have proved successful in another area b.) They are successful presently. C.) It seems like this is just the thing to do to these days.
Well, I can tell you my buddy Tom and all the comics down at Friday Night Live (FNL: Super Sonic Mic | Jersey Quickie Mic | Facebook) are doing great. So, that’s something at least. Now, maybe if Netflix wanted to come down and do a documentary on them….