Culture

Will Kevin Pollak's Comedy Doc Meet Its Kickstarter Goal?

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Kevin Pollak has appeared in a bunch of classic movies, including The Usual Suspects.

He’s one of the best mimics alive.

Comedy Central voted him one of the top stand-up comedians ever.

Now Pollak wants to shoot a star-studded documentary exploring one of the great paradoxes of Western culture — the sad clown:

If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, and those who perform it, you’re no doubt aware that a staggering percentage are truly miserable. We’ve lost number of great comedians to drugs, alcohol and suicide. How can they be so entertaining to strangers and so filled with sadness and/or rage with family and friends…? The main goal of this film is to shed extensive light on this bizarre dichotomy. … It’s gonna be a hoot!

Yes, all those drugs don’t help.

But before Lenny Bruce became the “Bird” of comedy and inspired too many stand-ups to shoot up, funny men had reputations as either twisted, self-destructive misanthropes or inconsolable Pagliaccii, too fragile and wounded to survive in a harsh, shallow world.

It’s a theme that runs through Always Leave Them Laughing (1949) and HBO’s Louie, and through The Comic (1969) to the Marc Maron “WTF” podcast.

The difference between those older pieces and contemporary ones is that, sometime in the 1960s, professional comedians no longer felt obligated to “turn their frowns upside down” when they went on stage, lest they disillusion their audiences.

That brand of artifice (and self-control) went out with the cheap tux and the Catskills.


So Pollak wants to get to the bottom of this “bizarre dichotomy” by interviewing dozens of big-name comics in his documentary Misery Loves Comedy.

I honestly can’t wait to see it, assuming Pollak reaches his Kickstarter goal.

And that’s the trouble:

He’s barely reached the half-way point and only has a week to go.

How is this possible?

I’m no crowdsourcing guru, but I can’t help but place part of the blame on Pollak’s video promo, which I’ve posted above. (It’s not even on YouTube.)

Pollak also foolishly chose Kickstarter as his platform, which (unlike alternatives such as FundAnything) keeps all your money if you fail to hit your target (!?)

Now I admit to being on Team Carolla, but look:

Adam Carolla just finished crowdsourcing a million dollars to produce his next movie, a fictional story about — guess what? — the crappy life of the stand-up comedian.

He met his goal, and surpassed it by over 40 percent, with days to spare.

Yes, Adam Carolla has built up a large and cultishly loyal fanbase over the past 20+ years.

Yes, his best friend is Jimmy Kimmel.

However, even if you don’t know any of this, and even if you hate the Aceman’s guts or just don’t “get” his appeal, compare his crowdsourcing “commercial” with Kevin Pollak’s and answer honestly:

Whom would you rather give your money to?