The Comedy isn’t easy to watch. Its unconventional narrative structure necessitates attentiveness, as important story elements are implied rather than conveyed through traditional exposition and are instead suggested through the strength of its performers. Keeping that in mind, I’ll sum-up the film as best I can.
The Comedy examines the depressing life of an unambitious 30-something trust fund kid in New York City. Tim Heidecker’s unskilled and unemployed protagonist lives on what I assume is his father’s sailboat. Spending his free time wasted with slovenly friends while his unresponsive father wastes away at home in a coma. The film moves quickly from scene to scene as Tim’s character searches for a new place in the world. I expected his free ride to end when his father inevitably died. Tim’s experiences are limited to drunkenly debating haughty topics with his friends or girls he’s trying to impress and searching for an entry level manual labor job. He eventually lands a gig as a part-time dishwasher.
At its core The Comedy is a tragedy about wasted life and at its best it’s a scathing critique of entitled youth. Tim berates and verbally abuses anyone he can while searching for direction and purpose. His deliberately unlikable and offensive behavior poorly disguises his deep emotional wounds. Who listens when a 35 year old lost boy asks for help? Wouldn’t he be met with derisive scoldings and lectures on how he should’ve done better before, yet no advice on how to improve?
Tim Heidecker immaculately embodies the lead role of a man without a soul or purpose. We meet him while he berates the nurse caring for his unresponsive and presumably dying father, asking if the healthcare worker ever improperly washes their hands after wiping his father’s ass. His ‘comedy’ is demonstrable of his entire character. Crass, combative, and unnecessary.