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Talking Funny 2011

  • John Moffitt
  • April 22, 2011
  • 50 mins
  • English
  • Comedy
A legendary discussion about what's so funny about being funny.
What does it mean to be a successful comedian? How far can the boundaries of taste be pushed to get a laugh? Four top comics, Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, discuss and debate their craft.


All 2 Comments

A decent, quick, conversational take on the philosophy of stand-up comedy, but there's only so much you can cover in 50 minutes. This was filmed a year before Seinfeld's 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee', took off, but this plays like a prelude... sans car or coffee.

As @MajorMercyFlush says, Gervais does come across as a little... well, needy and self-concerned. He makes a few broad, sweeping pronunciations about stand-up comedy that I think Jerry, Louis and Chris could have reverse-engineered to the detriment of Ricky's ego if they had chosen to.

The most interesting parts of this discussion revolve around offensive material in comedy, and where lines should be drawn. Watching this, and then seeing Louis CK's May 2015 'Saturday Night Live' monologue (where he compares paedophilia to his love for Mounds bars) provides an interesting perspective on his being able to "dodge laser beams" and deliver comedy to a very uncomfortable place for the audience.

Oh, by the way. If Otis Redding's Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay is one of your favourite songs, you may want to give this a pass.

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For me Louis C.K., Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld hold the top spot in their respective styles.What should have been a fascinating look inside the process is derailed by an insecure Ricky Gervais looking for validation through this vanity project.

I was glued to the first 10 minutes but when he says "I don't think I have a thing?" I was praying for a lighting to crash through his pandering face.

Intelligent discussion on each material, the nature of an act, persona and timing, what constitutes a show are insightful.

Gervais is painful to watch; his "hysteria" is trite and draws deserved looks. A telling moment is when he says that he just "got" the Office (which I love) and afterwards thought he should show he can do something else. They don't pander to him and I respect them more for it.

Talking Funny is enjoyable when Gervais isn't driving, though there is a lot to be had when he says something and they look at him like he just farted in their mums mouth.

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