Video: "I Need Laughs: One week in the trenches of the New York underground comedy scene"

This is a seven-part documentary I filmed called "I Need Laughs: One week in the trenches of the New York underground comedy scene." It's a behind the scenes look at a single week (Feb 20-27, 2009) in the alternative/underground/whatever-you-want-to-call-it comedy scene in NYC. Over that span, I brought a camera to every show/mic I did and filmed my sets, post-show shit-shooting with other comics, how I work on new bits, the subway/pizza/show sturm und drang of doing multiple shows in a night, etc. The whole thing is edited by Matt Lament who did a great job.

The point? Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian" is a great documentary. But the idea that it shows how tough it is to be a comic is, well, comical. When Jerry is roughing it, he's still going up at the best clubs in NYC in front of sizable crowds. I wanted to show what it's like when you're doing a real mix of shows, some decent and some where ya feel like a little piece of you is dying.

You can play all videos at YouTube and if you want to embed the whole thing, there's a link to do that via this playlist.

Here's the doc in individual episodes w/ descriptions:

Part 1. An overview of what's to come with scenes from We're All Friends Here show (and backstage recap), working on new material, taking a real life funny thing to the stage, etc.

Part 2. A woman objects to my making a joke that's making fun of people who use Hitler as a reference point.

Part 3. I riff at some good/bad shows, explain why I wear suits onstage, discuss coming up with material with Mark, etc.

Part 4. Some painful shows. Do you give up? Riff? Plow ahead with material? And some post-show deconstruction with other comics.

Part 5. After the shitty show I did in Part 4, I head to another show...with even fewer people at it. So I decide to just chat with the room and stumble across some interesting stuff. Then we discuss it afterwards in a cab on the way to another show.

Part 6. No booked shows means open mic'ing. This clip has me trying out some new bits and talking with other comics about mics. And I drop by the Cellar for a minute too. Funny thing: Josh Comers, the guy who makes the "paying your dues" joke, is now a writer for Conan.

Part 7. Wrapping up with some sex talk, more jokes, a random dude on the street who likes my tie, and the credits.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I'm a fan of the Seinfeld documentary, but eagerly look forward to your upcoming episodes. Living in NYC. About to embark on the the same hustle you're documenting now. Much appreciated.

Abbi Crutchfield said...

That's great to include the thing you see on the subway and the joke it becomes on stage.

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