Misery Loves Comedy

Director: Kevin Pollak
Screenwriters: Kevin Pollak, John Varhous

Institute History

  • 2015 Sundance Film Festival


Tom Hanks, Janeane Garofalo, Larry David, Lisa Kudrow, and Whoopi Goldberg are among the 50 stand-up comedy legends featured in this hilarious twist on the age-old truth: misery loves company. In-depth, candid interviews with international comedy veterans dig into their earliest comic experiences, ones that planted the seeds of "funny" and became formative in their careers.

Kevin Pollak's film immerses you in unforgettable anecdotes and insights from the comedy circuit that reveal a performer's deep, and perhaps paradoxical, desire to connect with audiences. It's often only on stage that they are able to truly be themselves. The problem is, connecting with an audience and getting the laughs can be addictive.

Pollak's master class in comedy reveals a rare opportunity to hear your favorite comics dissect the art of stand-up and explore how a joke can operate as a blunt tool, a social weapon, or a personal elixir. It reminds us that the best humor might be derived from misery, but it's the comedian's particular brand of truth that helps us all understand a little better what it means to be human. An extended discussion will accompany this screening.—H.C.

— Hussain Currimbhoy

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]