Only life can make you laugh as you cry

Bitter Jester is a documentary on the life of comedian Maija DiGiorgio, and particularly interested in the time after she fell out of favor with the club owners who gave her a place to perform. She's rooming with her manager and not making any money when the idea comes about to start documenting this. She starts with only a cameraman to follow her around, but as time goes on, the project gains momentum, though it isn't getting Maija on stage.

Along the way, Maija finds love with former boxer Kenny, who has also been personal security for Richard Belzer. Kenny's personality is a bit like a wild cannon, intimidating but brutally honest. He gets them in trouble by confronting Jerry Seinfeld over his stage hogging tactics one evening (you might recall this making the news) - Seinfeld's decision to make the film Comedian seems to haunt them following this incident. But Kenny's style - and Belzer's interest in the project - open doors for them as well.

Jester might only be an average documentary on the industry, but the stroke of genius was to turn the camera on themselves during the struggle to get this made. All the interviews they did - while interesting in themselves - really provide the framework for the real story, the struggle to get back into the industry.

This is real life, with all the frustrations and contradictions people go through. They form a fitting, yet incomplete ending, which is what life is all about. Maija gets to perform again, but what happens with her career? That may have a lot to do with the reaction to the documentary. It's too early to know the answer, but after watching her struggle, it would be hard not to be pulling for success.

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