Open Mic is a behind-the-scenes documentary about the stand-up comedy business. Although some of the technical flaws, such as the background music being as loud as the person being interviewed and some shots being rather grainy, do get in the way, this movie is strong enough to make you overlook them. Director Jason Dudek follows to young unknown comedians, Butch Bradley in Los Angeles and Dan Aubrey in Miami, as they try to get stage time, recognition, and laughs.
The scenes with Bradley and Aubrey are interspersed with short interview clips with a who's who of the comedy business such as the always interesting Richard Jeni, Charles Fleischer, Bobcat Goldthwait "The rules of comedy are . . . try not to suck.", Shawn Wayans, Jim Breuer, David Chappelle, Dom Irrera, and Victoria Jackson whose story about getting "the" phone call is really funny.
What the comedy club veterans have to say is quite interesting and fair warning to any young comic. Chappelle compares open mic nights to working in a sweatshop and he is not wrong. Club owner Jamie Masada (Laugh Factory) tells one comic, George, he will be a regular, the young hopeful calls his family to tell them the good news, and then Masada doesn't return George calls ever. This is one guy you should be careful about. Everything he says in this documentary is more self-serving than interesting.
One of the stars of Open Mic is Dan Aubrey, a pasty, low-energy comedian who, on a blind date, is told, "You're a comedian but you're not a funny person." Give the guy credit for not only trying to get this blind date to pay for her drink but for hanging in there and letting Dudek roll as everything that can possibly go wrong does.
The other star is young rising (though at the time he was just young) standup Butch Bradley. You definitely have to cheer for him when he gets "the call" in his totally unfurnished and bare L.A. pad. A little research reveals although this documentary film was released in 2004, the footage dates back to 2000 as the tag line at the end of it telling you what happened to Aubrey and Bradley refers to events in 2001.
Open Mic, flaws and all, including a long scene of a pasty, hairy, white guy doing pushups and setups in his boxers, is a fascinating and generally well done (story wise) documentary that any young comic and fan of stand-up comedy should see at least once.
Other Various Stand-Up Comics Reviews
Play The Word - Volume 1: Merril Markoe, Rob Cohen, Julie Rottenberg, Adam Zweibel, Beth Lapides, Winnie Holzman, George Meyer
Play The Word - Volume 2: Jay Kogen, Cindy Chupack, Eric Gilliland, Beth Lapides, Julia Sweeny, Cindy Camponera, Rob Cohen
Before They Were Kings Volume 1: a comedy Dvd featuring some old sets has not aged a bit.
Before They Were Kings Volume 2: an interesting though not a must have stand-up comedy DVD.
The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1: The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1 is a very solid comedy DVD
The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 2: Big Black Comedy Volume 1 is far superior to this comedy DVD
Laffapalooza 5: not the best of the bunch but quite decent nonetheless
Laughing Matters: Bad director! Bad director!! Someone take her splicing kit away, now!
Drive By Comedy: a pretty good sample style audio book comedy CD
The Naughty Show Bad Girls Of Comedy: Kim Cea, Stella Stolper, Lisa Ann Walter, Kate Rigg, Shayma Tash, Robin Montague. Ex adult film star director, limp product, no money shot.
World's Greatest Stand-Up Comedy Collection: World's greatest stand-up comedy DVD collection. They are all there.
Redneck Comedy Roundup: skip over the many Engvall tracks and enjoy the other stand-up comics
Invite Them Up: 4 hours on 3 comedy CDs and 1 DVD, hard to beat
Man Alive - CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival: CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival show John Wing Jr, Glen Foster, others
Just For Laughs Vol 1 Best of The Uptown Comics: Uptown Comics Volume 1 is an excellent stand-up comedy DVD.
Just For Laughs Stand-Up Vol 2 On The Edge: Comedy Festival gala performances by comedy's edgiest,funniest
The Good,The Bad, And The Drugly: Major stand-up comedy artists do very different stuff.
Un-Cabaret - The Un & Only: Decent not quite comedy CD
10,000 Laughs : Best of the Boston Comedy Festival: Very good stand-up comedy CD features 16 stand-up comics and not a bad set in the bunch.
Comedy Death-Ray: A different comedy concept 2 CD set with Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, David Cross, and many others.
Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s DVD - Capsule Review: Great Stand-up comedy TV clip collection.
Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s - Full Review: DVD with rare TV clips of comedy greats like Cosby, Newhart, Carlin, etc
Indian Invasion Comedy: Buffet style DVD featuring Mark Saldana, Bijai Nathan, Rajiv Satyal, Dalia, and Vidur Kapur.
Katt Williams presents Katthouse Comedy: Ordinary stand-up comedy DVD with Red Grant, Luenell, and Melanie Comarcho
National Lampoon Live Un-Scripted with Frank Caliendo: Buffet style stand-up comedy CD with Frank Caliendo, John DiResta, Bert Kreischer, Tess, and Steve Byrne
Comics Without Borders - Season One: Russell Peters hosts 18 comics in stand-up comedy variety pack
Best of Montreal Comedy: Good variety pack of up-and-coming Montreal comics
Yuk Yuk's Guide To Canadian Stand-up: Yuk Yuk's owner presents the history of Canadian stand-up comedy in must have 5 CD audio book set featuring more than 50 stand-up comics.
The Awkward Comedy Show: Buffet style stand-up comedy DVD featuring 5 nerdy Black comics
A 420 Friendly Comedy Special: Very good comedy but not as much pot as you'd expect.
Comedy Juice All-Stars: Very good compilation from Stand Up! Records aside from Eddie Pepitone