Alone Up There is an indie documentary about stand-up comedy by Sean Paul Shaul. Shaul is clearly doing a movie about something he loves and it shows. Alone Up There covers pretty much everything you might want to know about stand-up and features a very solid line-up of comics and “experts”. Even if this is not your first documentary about stand-up, this one will interest you.
Shaul begins with a quick history of comedy, the fifties, the early days of TV, the Saul / Bruce period, the Carlin / Pryor days, and the 80's comedy boom and bust. He rapidly moves to now when comics have been empowered by the internet and cable TV.
The documentary covers topics like who is a comic, first gigs, the adrenaline rush, the price comics pay for doing what they do, and worst gigs and hecklers. That last part though always interesting is a bit long. There follows a section on confidence, timing, delivery, material, is it the real person or a character on stage, and whether the material itself is important.
It also features a who's who of comedy including Alonzo Bodden, Marc Maron, Simon King, Darryl Lennox, Bobby Slayton, Mike McDonald, Ron James, Eddie Griffin, and Jeremy Hotz, all of whom we have a review for here.
About two thirds into Alone Up There, Saul is told the only way to understand stand-up is to do some so he gathers up courage and advice and gets on a stage for a few minutes. It is interesting and original but I found the lead-up to the set was a bit long, as if the director was still nervous about having had to do a routine on stage.
Alone Up There is well worth the $7.00 asked for at the website. You should also take the time to look at the $5.00 Live at the Waldorf stand-up comedy videos available. These include Dylan Rhymer, Erica Sigurdson, and Ben McGinnis