Amen Jafri is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and sometimes brand consultant, currently in development on a short on self-marriage. Google her or visit amenjafri.com for more info.
She recently reviewed the feature-length documentary film The Mayor of Comedy: A Canadian Stand-Up Story, screening at the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival on November 1, 2019. Here is her review.
There is something immediately likeable about comedian Sandra Battaglini, the host and interviewer in this feature documentary exploring the state of the stand-up comedy in Canada. She has no pretensions (in an early scene, she is advised to fix her hair for the camera and then laughs off its unruliness with a “fuck it”) and as the founder of The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, earnestly lobbying Canadian politicians to fund comedians.
It’s too bad then, that we don’t get to exclusively follow her story in this film. Director Matt Kelly seems intent on shining a spotlight on a who’s who in the Canadian stand-up comic scene. As a result, the film features interviews with over 30 different comics, including Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall) and K-Trevor Wilson (Letterkenny), who either speak to stand-up as a business and art form in Canada, or who share their own experiences and backgrounds as comics. The result is a film that can sometimes come across as unfocused and meandering, without a clear structure or arc.
But as someone completely unfamiliar with the stand-up comedy scene in Canada, I did find this film to be an eye opener. I expect most people that watch this film will walk away with a far greater appreciation for the performers they see the next time they drop by a Yuk Yuk’s.
The Mayor of Comedy: A Canadian Stand-Up Story screens at the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival on November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm at the Arts Court Theatre.
Check out our Q&A post with director Matt Kelly.