A new docuseries explores why the lives of so many comedians end in tragedy

Photo illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Dark side of comedy is meant to be no laughing matter, giving a dour look to the saddest stories in modern comedy history. Nonetheless, it would be nice if the wit of its themes was handled by something a little more solemn in this spin-off Dark side of the ring (on the tragedies of professional wrestling) and Dark side of the 90’s (on this decade’s most notorious tabloid scandals). By the looks of it, Vice’s 10-part compendium of cautionary tales is packed with archival clips but chillingly light in humor, and approaches its material in such a menacing and melancholy manner that the reasons for its stars’ fame are drowned in a sea of ​​horrors.

Premieres August 16 and narrated by Dave Foley, Dark side of comedy Delivering on its nominal promise, it delves into the underbelly of his chosen showbiz realm in installments about Chris Farley, Andrew Dice Clay, Freddie Prinze, Artie Lange, Maria Bamford, Roseanne Barr, Greg Giraldo, Brett Butler and Richard Pryor. Although these exposés span decades, gender, and race, they are not as diverse as they first appear, in large part because certain underlying commonalities soon emerge: childhood trauma; struggles with the sudden pressures and expectations of success in the spotlight; Exploitation and enabling by an industry that views its marquee draws simply as cash cows to be used and disposed of as needed; and staggering drug abuse, in some cases resulting in attempted suicide and/or death. The impression these nightmares give is that fame is a terrible curse that no one should covet — sex, money, and worship, damn it.

Perhaps nowhere is this lesson more evident than in Dark side of comedy‘s sixth episode about Dustin Diamond, who is known all over the world Saved by the bell‘s resident Idiot Screech. Diamond died of cancer in 2021 at the age of 44, and yet on showrunner Paul Taylor’s series, this untimely death comes across as just the final injustice the actor suffered. As recounted by his father Mark, friends and childhood colleagues, Diamond had a tough time from the start and developed a passion for the camera as a child entertaining his older brother Ryan, who was affected by Down Syndrome. The depression that gripped him after Ryan’s death was offset by his love of acting, and soon Mark moved to Los Angeles with his clan to pursue his son’s theatrical dreams, which were realized when Diamond landed the role of the perpetual fool Screech in the Disney Channel show that would develop Saved by the bell.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-do-so-many-comedians-lives-end-in-tragedy?source=articles&via=rss A new docuseries explores why the lives of so many comedians end in tragedy

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