IT STARTED AS A JOKE (2019)

(hoopla/VOD) I’m an easy laugher, and I also tear up easily. (Often both at the same time.) Really, I’m an emotional person in general, but that’s okay because alternative comedian Eugene Mirman is too.

The first half of IT STARTED AS A JOKE is a ’behind the curtain’ comedy documentary, showcasing the end of an era as Eugene Mirman wraps the 10th and last Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. This last festival is a star-studded affair, but all of the prior ones were too (just a lot of folks didn’t know it at the time, including some of the performers). We’re talking about Janeane Garofalo, Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani, both Michaels: Ian Black and Showalter, Wyatt Cenac, Kristen Schaal, the list goes on. There’s a lot of great footage of older fests, interviews and bits you’d never have seen otherwise.

The second half deals with how he and his wife Katie (who has also been heavily involved with the comedy scene) deal with her cancer and how they, and comedians in general, deal with finality.

It’s a very sincere and heartfelt tribute from seasoned news and doc producers, but first-time directors, Julie Smith Clem and Ken Druckerman that celebrates the groundwork Eugene and Katie have created, and it make just leave your cheeks as damp as mine.