Kevin Pollak has been a comic for over 40 years – both in stand-up and on film – so it seems natural than when he decided to step behind the camera, his focus would be on comedians. Pollak’s new documentary – “Misery Loves Comedy” – focuses on the psychology behind the people that make us laugh in candid interviews with over 60 of the biggest stars in the business. The film’s discussion stems from one deceivingly complex question – do you have to be miserable to be funny?
Pollak spoke to the International Business Time during a press roundtable at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Tuesday where the comedian explained how the making of the film shaped his own opinion on the subject.
“We tend to fall into a vacuum as solo performers and it was important for me to learn from everyone else’s point of view the way that the audience would,” Pollak told IBTimes. “Another reason why I took myself out of the film [Pollak does not appear onscreen] is so when I got to the editing I could think about what was relevant to the movie and the flow from the audience’s standpoint. So, as the audience I’m learning about these individuals from these interviews becoming drastically informed.”
Pollak also admitted that there were comedians he would have loved to talk to for the film, but was unable to include.
“Obviously, I dedicated the film to Robin Williams and when I was shooting he was one of those people who just wasn’t available. He was doing [“The Crazy Ones”] at the time, but he got on the phone with me twice, almost an hour each time, and I felt like he was using that time to talk about the film and talk about its importance and what it means to articulate misery on stage as a performer. So, when he passed it was a no-brainer to dedicate the film to him, “said Pollak. “And I knew I wouldn’t get the four comics – Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K., Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais – who did the ['Talking Funny’] HBO sit-down because they had already done it. [Jerry Seinfeld] even emailed me and told me, ‘I’m pretty much talked out on comedy.’”
Even without those big names, Pollak still managed to score interviews with Tom Hanks, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, as well as dozens more for the insightful documentary.
“Misery Loves Comedy” is available on iTunes right now and will be playing at the Tribeca Film Festival all week. Showtimes are available on the festival’s website.
Watch the trailer for "Misery Loves Comedy" below: