There’s no doubt that Granite State natives have helped to shape and influence virtually every aspect of humanity, so it should come as no surprise that some comedians can be added to its roster of fame. These include funny folks Sarah Silverman and Adam Sandler, with many more hoping to follow in their very large footsteps. Based upon her earlier 20-minute short, Wicked Funny, Lisa Romagnoli’s Wicked Funny 2 continues to follow the careers of rising comic stars living in the state of New Hampshire.
As Romagnoli previously discovered, making it as a stand-up in New Hampshire, or anywhere, is no easy task, and is definitely not for the timid or insecure. Wait a minute…maybe it is, since Wicked Funny 2 does reveal quite a few shy and shaky stand-ups, one of whom proudly admitting that she’s unable to eat right before her performance without risk of acute nausea. And while this might sound funny to us spectators, it’s surely no joke for her.
As we may expect from Wicked Funny 2, and other such documentaries of its ilk (such as Jordan Brady’s I Am Comic (2010)), there are many trials and tribulations that face up-and-coming comedians, and many drop out of the running because of the long hours, negligible pay, thankless audiences, family backlash, and sheer exhaustion. In addition, there doesn’t appear to be any magical bullet for success, since comics are only as good as their next well-written script— which as always—must be improvised in accordance with their future audience.
While behind-the-scenes studies of entertainers usually make for fascinating films, there have been so many movies about this subject, that any new ones must offer something earth-shatteringly unique to maintain any type of interest level. And as much as I wanted to love Wicked Funny 2, because I thrive on laughter, and do enjoy learning about the very real and universal troubles facing anyone trying to make it in this world, I found the film overly long for its 86 minutes.
Little technical flaws that I tried to ignore bothered me. These included: lighting issues in segments, where the comedians tended to blend into the background—and disturbingly low audio in certain areas where the filmmaker asked a question that was primarily, inaudible. While I do appreciate the daunting tasks confronting the documentary filmmaker, who must investigate and probe in such a way as to not scare off her sensitive subjects, I’m also a critical observer who wants to be entertained, and educated in new ways. For those reasons, I’ll anticipate Lisa Romagnoli’s next cinematic venture, which I hope, will be soon.
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