Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|When Stand Up Stood Out|
Actors: Lenny Clarke, Barry Crimmins, Mike Donovan, Janeane Garofalo, Don Gavin
Director: Fran Solomita
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Documentary
Cash. Debauchery. Excess. Success! It?s no coincidence that some of the most cutting edge comics of this generation came out of the same city, at the same time. The Boston gold rush of the late 70s and early 80s was cons... more »
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John Farrell | Watertown, MA USA | 10/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I read about this DVD in The Boston Phoenix and bought it immediately about five months ago. I didn't even play it for a long while after I received it from Amazon. I finally watched it this past weekend. I have to admit, in the interest of full disclosure, I once worked for WBCN-FM in Boston as a non paid producer for the Mark Parenteau afternoon drive show back when radio at least resembled the radio we grew up with. One of the jobs I did to make money doing was editing the swear words out of the stand up routine these comics did at Stitches Comedy Club, which at one time existed in the same building at The Paradise Rock Club many years ago, for Mark's daily comedy portion of his show. I also was a 1982 graduate of Emerson College and having witnessed Lauren Dombrowski, Eddie Brill, Mario Cantone, and Denis Leary and several other folks up close and personal at the Emerson Comedy Workshop my review is probably a little skewered. Particularly because I was directly involved in the scene I have to say I really enjoyed this. I met nearly every one of these comics as they came to the studio to do live comedy over the years. Most of them were very nice people. Lenny Clarke was a tremendous personality and I never stopped laughing while he was around. I didn't even really get into comedy clubs outside of Emerson until 1981 or so. Cambridge, home to The Ding Ho, seemed like another country for a college student in a major metropolitan city with no car and a $45 a week work study job so I never even set foot in the place. That was the most interesting part of the DVD for me. I didn't know Barry Crimmins found the place by blind luck and the like. I didn't know about the house with the high hang factor where everybody seem to crash. I ended up leaving the radio station in 1986 and really always wondered why a number of the comedy clubs closed. They really don't finish the story that way, but I guess it really doesn't matter. I think I was at a couple of the shows while they were taping during though I've heard some of those jokes so many times I'd be hard pressed to prove it. The only reason I don't give this five stars is huge though. You come away from this DVD wondering if Fran Solomita and Steve Sweeney, a Boston comic legend, have a running grudge or something. There was only one scene where Steve Sweeney even got a cameo! Kevin Meaney, a great comic no doubt, was nowhere near the comic icon that Steve Sweeney was in this town at that time, got plenty of face time with the camera. The fact that he was not featured prominently in this DVD is a flat out crime. Everyone mentioned deserved their place in the film, but the Sweeney omission is glaring. Also, it would have been a lot cooler if they had shown clips of the other major national acts such as Jerry Seinfeld (though I'm sure that icon's image would have blown the budget of the film if he were to be a jerk about it) interacting with the local talent. I'm sure Drew Carey and several others played the same clubs on the same night as well and that would have made for great background concerning how big this scene really was. The Steven Wright and Bob Goldthwait stories were also very interesting. I thought guys like DJ Hazard, Chance Langton, Mike Donovan, Mike McDonald, and George McDonald sort of got short shrift as the rank and file underpinning comics that kept the big boys front and center and filled the bill night after night, but overall I like the format and the content. Another monster talent in Anthony Clarke might have been from a slightly different comic generation, but he should have gotten some kudos too I thought. I can see, however, that folks not from Boston would not enjoy this DVD half as much as those of us who lived through it, but this is a must own for that crowd. I enjoyed the heck of it despite the odd absence of Steve Sweeney. I'm glad somebody documented it because it was insane and the money was really flowing. I saw Craig Ferguson a couple of weeks ago at the New Comedy Connection in Faneuil Hall and loved it. You still can't beat a good comedy show."
Mark Fischel | Brookly, NY | 07/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a huge fan of stand-up comedy and in particular, Stephen Wright and the always funny Denis Leary, I was very happy with my purchase of this DVD.
Great footage, great interviews, and great production quality as well.
This is a must for any comedy fan, especially those who are curious as to what it takes to make it in a very difficult business.
A documentary that really stands out
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 03/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What some of the angry reviewers of this film don't seem to understand is that although there are quite a few clips of stand up bits, this is a documentary ABOUT stand up, not a collection of acts. And it's a brilliantly made documentary as well. When I started watching, I didn't know that it was going to be so specifically about the Boston stand up scene. I didn't even know that so many great comedians came out of Boston.
What this documentary is really about is a brief period in the late 70s - early 80s when stand up was suddenly all the rage in Boston. Suddenly comedy clubs were popping up all over town, and stand up was something that you could really make a good living at. It was fresh, original, and every act was different. Old clips from inside the clubs really showcase some funny stuff here too.
What makes this documentary so enjoyable is the obvious respect and affection that filmmaker (and Boston comedian) Fran Solomita has for every artist he interviews. He still doesn't allow his film to turn into a love fest of idolizing Boston comedians. All aspects of the movement are documented here. The initial rise, Steven Wright's first appearance on the Late Show that really set Boston ablaze, and then the downfall that occurred because of the surplus of comedians and tv channels displaying comedians... and the drugs. Can't forget the drugs.
When Stand Up Stood Out is just a really well made film about a very specific group of people in a specific area, but it alludes to the fact that stand up was exploding everywhere at this time, Boston was just the heart of it.
There are great interviews and clips from comedians you may have never heard of and many that you have. All have their own insights into the process and the business and it's all interesting. This film is definitely never boring.
The DVD contains tons of extras. There's an interview with Dane Cook talking about how he was affected by all the great Boston comedians before him. There's a good deal of clips from Bobcat Goldthwaite, Larry Clarke, and some "man on the street" clips from Kevin Meaney. There's also a making of featurette that really offers a lot of behind the scene information. Overall, this is a great DVD and worth every cent."