Comedians make us laugh. Everyone needs a good laugh, once and again. Sadly, some of the people who have made us laugh the most, have sad untold tales in their personal lives. A few of these stories make it onto the big screen, while others are shown on the small screen. No matter if the stories of these funny men make it to film or television, they can make us laugh, cry, serve as a warning, or inspire us. Here are four such movies.
Nominated for six Academy Awards, this 1974 film was directed by Bob Fosse, and starred Dustin Hoffman, as controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. If it was not for Lenny Bruce, many of the freedoms comedians today take for granted would not be there. This films depicts Lenny’s many legal battles involving obscenity laws, shows his marriage to Honey, a stripper, played by Valarie Perrine, who won Best Actress at Cannes, for the role in 1975. The film also shows Lenny’s demise into drug addiction. This film is in Black and White and very gritty. It is a very edgy film, like so many others of the time. The film not only reflects the angst of Bruce’s time period, but also the angst of the mid-1970s. I think that the latter angst may have came from a sense of the impending backlash, against the freedoms gained from the efforts of people like Bruce, by the self-appointed moral police, that became so vocal in the 1980s.
Can You Hear The Laughter?: The Freddie Prinze Story
A 1979, CBS Television movie, about the comedian Freddie Prinze, played by Ira Angustain. Prinze was best remembered for his role on the NBC comedy series, Chico and The Man. This docudrama deals with his success because of that show and points toward that success destroying him emotionally. I watched this film when it first aired, as I had been a fan of Freddie, however, I found the movie tedious. The film is rarely seen in rerun. You may be able to get a copy of the DVD. I would suggest, instead, getting a boxed set of one of the Chico and The Man seasons.
Chico and The Man-Opening
Between The Laughter
Directed by Lamont Johnson, this 1984 ABC television movie, starred Jeff Goldblum, as comedian Ernie Kovacs. Much of the film deals with Kovacs search for his children who were kidnapped. The movie was nominated for three Prime Time Emmys. This film not only shows the comic genius of Kovacs, it also shows his dedication as a father. It is worth looking for, when if it airs on television from time to time, or picking up a copy of the DVD.
Scene From Between The Laughter
[youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86WafFyoKII ]
Man In The Moon
Miloš Forman directed, this 1999 film, about the life of comedian Andy Kaufman, played by Jim Carrey. Andy Kaufman was a comedian who played with people’s sense of reality. This film shows not only the madness, it also shows some of the method. Although, Kaufman may have seemed quite insane, the sadness in this tale has nothing to do with the lead character’s self destruction, instead the down side of this film shows Kaufman dealing with cancer. Something that Kaufman does not let get the best of him. Therefore this film is actually very inspirational. I you only watch one film on this list, make it this one.
Man in The Moon Trailer
If you have seen these films you will know that they are filled with both laughter and tears. Here’s to more laughter than tears in everyone’s lives.