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The Comedy

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On the cusp of inheriting his father's estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) is a man with unlimited options. An aging hipster in Brooklyn, he spends his days in aimless recreation with like-minded friends (Tim & Eric co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a."Neil Hamburger") in games of comic irreverence and mock sincerity. As Swanson grows restless of the safety a sheltered life offers him, he tests the limits of acceptable behavior, pushing the envelope in every way he can. Played brilliantly by Heidecker, his deadpan delivery cleverly masks a deep desire for connection and sense in the modern world. THE COMEDY wears its name on its sleeve, but director Rick Alverson's powerful and provocative character study touches a darkness behind the humor that resonates with viewers long after the story ends.

Bonus features include: Story Behind the Scene Presented by American Express and Audio Commentary with Tim Heidecker and Director Rick Alverson.


"This is, in effect, Arthur meets Jackass." --New Yorker

"a challenging film that may ultimately be bulls***, [but] deserves tremendous respect for its clarity of vision." --IFC.com

"Transgressively brilliant..." --Village Voice

"a challenging film that may ultimately be bulls***, [but] deserves tremendous respect for its clarity of vision." --IFC.com

"Transgressively brilliant..." --Village Voice

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory M. Brown, Roxanne Ferris, Neil Hamburger, Tim Heidecker, Angus Hepburn
  • Directors: Rick Alverson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Tribeca
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009O07NJS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

The humor in it was great.
amanda walker
It is simply a very well shot character sketch that rarely goes beyond the superficial, as there is little else of substance within Swanson himself.
Dillon Lee
40% on rotten tomatoes and just as low on imdb.
Michael Cardwell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By rob on October 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
You probably aren't reading this unless you already know a fair amount about this film and also know that its impossible-to-Google title is an "ironic" misnomer. If I may quote Sundance program guy Trevor Groth on The Comedy: "It's a provocation, a critique of a culture based at its core around irony and sarcasm and about ultimately how hollow that is."

Unfortunately, I find I cannot agree at all with Mr. Groth's summary. Casting Tim Heidecker as the lead in a movie with that intended message would be like someone in the late 1960s making a propaganda film on how electric guitar is a regressive scourge upon Western music, then using nothing but extensive concert footage of Jimi Hendrix to "make" their point.

No, if The Comedy has any central message-- and I am not sure that it does-- it's a more general existential message, not just a cautionary tale for unfeeling 4chan addicts and other self-made high-functioning sociopaths of our time.

I'm not a trust fund baby like Heidecker's character in The Comedy. But the older I get here in the oh-so-privileged West, the more I think and the more I learn and the more I live, the harder it becomes to ignore the emptiness and futility of modern life and existence itself, and to continue functioning... heck, even *pretending* to function in the context of such meaninglessness.

The central characters in The Comedy have reached the same conclusion, but have the further luxuries of endless spare time and being able to buy their way out of any semi-reasonable situation that their antics might potentially cause. They live to entertain themselves and, having given up on any purpose to higher intellectual pursuits, have regressed almost entirely to the behavioral level of twelve-year-old boys.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy on October 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
The first reviewer (Rob) has written intelligently about The Comedy already, and I'd like to direct those interested toward his comments.

I do take issue, though, with some of his phrasing. I'd like to modify his "aimless" to "seemingly aimless" and his "pointless" to "quite pointed." The Comedy is actually satisfyingly symmetrical. Four key scenes illustrate this symmetry: the nurse/father scene at the beginning and the nurse/stranger in hospital scene at the end, plus the ride back from the boat with the party/Hitler girl at the beginning versus the ride back from the boat with Kate Lyn Sheil's waitress toward the end. I don't know that this structural balance shows an evolution in the character as much as it shows an evolution in the audience's understanding of the character. I love this technique and I love this movie.

Tim Heidecker knocks it loose as Swanson, and for all the hubbub about his "squirm-inducing" (or whatever) behavior, it's his silences and his subtle facial tics that really deliver the character. There's guilt and longing galore in this movie, and it's all in Heidecker's expressions and silences. To refer again to Rob's solid comment/review, I'm not so sure this movie is for the cynical and jaded. It's for those on the brink of cynicism--it's perhaps a buoy for them to gauge how far gone they are. No one thought Jonathan Swift really wanted to eat babies, and I'm not so sure anyone should think Swanson wants to guzzle beer all day and harass cab drivers.

I love this movie for its relevance--for its exploration of 21st Century ennui, and for ultimately offering scenes of hopefulness. Anyone who's ever felt detached (on purpose or otherwise) should give this one a try.
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Format: DVD
Looking for the feel good comedy of the year? A rollicking good time? Despite its title, "The Comedy" probably won't fit that bill. This is a movie that will certainly divide its audience. Is it a brilliant character study of the disaffected? Or is it simply a hateful and punishing experience that will leave you wondering what you just watched? To my estimation, it is both of these things simultaneously. And for this, you will either love or hate "The Comedy." Whichever side you fall on, though, I can't imagine you'll be indifferent to it! As a provocation, Rick Alverson's screenplay certainly succeeds. Much of the dialogue is pushed to the extremes of offensiveness. It's so calculated, in fact, that it becomes somewhat indulgent and unrelenting. The film is counterbalanced in some quieter moments, but there is no redemption at the end of this rainbow. If you need a big plot or noticeable character growth, "The Comedy" provides neither. It just shows a subculture of post collegiate ennui that has extended into adulthood.

Tim Heideker plays the lead, an irresponsible man/child facing the death of his father. His life consists of getting drunk, behaving boorishly, and hanging out with friends with similarly uninspired goals. Heideker, whether in action or in discourse, is poised to mock and offend just about everyone he encounters. His diatribes can be funny in the most politically incorrect way possible, but he uses them as a defense mechanism against normal intimacy. I didn't laugh out loud, but I was amused by the ferocity and the apparent insecurities that unleashed it. There is no doubt that Heideker is disturbed, some may say pathetic, but that's what makes "The Comedy" so distinctive. It has a definite point of view and, as a character study, it works.
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