Synopsis by Mark Deming
Comedian and filmmaker Jordan Brady offers an inside look at the art and business of stand-up comedy in this documentary. In I Am Comic, more than eighty professional comedians -- ranging from struggling beginners to veterans with over a fifty years of experience -- talk about the nuts and bolts of their work, discussing how they create their material, how an act comes together over time, the rigors of performing and their relationship with their audience. The film also focuses on one particular performer, Ritch Shydner. During the 1980s, Shydner was a working comedian who seemed poised for a major breakthrough -- he appeared on a number of top talk shows (including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and David Letterman), he had his own special on HBO, he appeared on several situation comedies as a guest star and starred in several pilots for comedy shows built around him. Despite it all, Shydner never hit the big time, and he eventually quit touring to become a writer for television. After more than a decade away from the stage, Shydner is hoping to make a comeback, and Brady follows him as he tries to connect with a new audience and adjusts to the changing landscape of professional comedy. Featuring interviews with Phyllis Diller, Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Foxworthy, Dave Attell, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carlos Mencia and many more, I Am Comic received its world premiere at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival.