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The 'Top Five' comedies about comedians

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Comedies about comedians aren’t always the greatest films. They tend to try too hard, without ever being as captivating as a real, live, quality stand-up set. So when a comedy about a stand-up comedian succeeds, it’s not just an accomplishment in the world of movies—it’s also one in the world of comedy.

Chris Rock’s Top Five (out Dec. 12) is the latest film focused on a comedian, and it’s already getting good reviews: The film currently has a 92-percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and EW gave it an A-. But while Top Five is undeniably a comedy, other films about the profession aren’t as clear-cut: Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy and Judd Apatow’s Funny People are more dramatic, contrasting the hilarity of comedians’ work with the darker parts of their real lives.

Whether it’s roaringly funny or not, though, a good film about a comedian won’t try to simplify the profession. Instead, it’ll portray comedy as an art just as complicated and personal as any other—hopefully while making the audience laugh at least a little. Here, on the occasion of Top Five‘s release, are five such films. READ FULL STORY

ORIGIN STORY: How Mike Birbiglia's 'Sleepwalk With Me' transformed nightmares into a dream project

It’s a pretty common dream: Let’s make a movie.

Every kid who grew up with a video camera had it, even if it ranked in likelihood alongside becoming a “major league baseball player” and “astronaut” as possible professions.

Mike Birbiglia also had this dream — though he has a lot more of those than he knows what to do with.

The actor-writer-director’s new film Sleepwalk With Me, which expands nationwide today, is a fictionalized version of his bizarre experience with somnambulism — that is, acting out his dreams while still asleep — an affliction that hit him during one of the worst periods of his life.

It also turned out to be one of the best times of his life, or at least a very fortunate one. It gave him a story to tell, and everyone knows that’s the main ingredient for making a movie. That and money.

Here’s the story of how Sleepwalk With Me became a reality (with help from This American Life‘s Ira Glass, grappling with him in the photo above.)

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'Sleepwalk With Me' comedy declares victory over Joss Whedon's 'Avengers' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Puny Whedon …

Sleepwalk With Me, an indie film about a stand-up comic who discovers that his act gets funnier the more his life falls apart, expands to cities across the country today, and it has already declared victory over the biggest movie of the year after debuting last week on just one New York City screen.

Take that, Joss Whedon! Oooh, “The Avengers”! You think you’re so smart with your billion-dollar superhero franchise. Who’s laughing now!?

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Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal

Mike Birbiglia, that’s who! The guy who wrote, directed, and stars in the film (which is based on his own life.) And Ira Glass, the mild-mannered host of public radio’s This American Life, who produced Sleepwalk With Me — he’s laughing, too!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! In … your … FACE, Joss Whedon!

Check out the exclusive video of their victory declaration, and Whedon’s pathetic capitulation, at Sleepwalk With Me‘s recent Los Angeles premiere. READ FULL STORY

Watch 'Sleepwalk With Me' trailer -- VIDEO

Mike Birbiglia’s comedy Sleepwalk With Me now has a trailer!

The film, which Birbiglia wrote, directed and starred in, is a tale of a stand-up comedian coming to terms with his less-than-perfect life while struggling with increasingly bizarre bouts of sleepwalking. It also features fellow comedians David Wain, Kristen Schaal, Marc Maron and Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose. If the trailer is anything to go by, this is bound to be a sleeper hit.

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