Specialish (2021)

A comedian decides to literally go the distance in this part-documentary/part-comedy special that shows both the funny and realistic sides on and off the stage.

For Jessica Watkins, she has dreamed of being a huge stand-up comic. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she moved to New York City in hopes to live her dream. To make ends meet, she worked as a waitress while pursuing her dream. Every comic needs some sort of gimmick and for Jessica, she knew exactly what to do. After a decade in the Big Apple, she decides to literally walk across America, camp out, and find spots where she can perform.

She leaves behind her longtime boyfriend and dog. Armed with camping gear, whiskey, and a stroller, Jessica makes the journey from the East Coast to the West Coast and looks for various locations to do her stand-up comedy. Along the way, she gives everyone a look at her realistic side of the story. She suffers a knee injury en route, and during a radio interview, she is reminded of a tragic event in her teens which almost cause her to give up the whole idea. However, she decides not to give up and journeys with one goal in mind: make it to the West Coast.

This may sound like some sort of feature film which would feature a big name as the story is quite revealing. However, this is actually the true story of aspiring comedian Jessica Watkins. She made the entire film herself, having shot hours of footage in the span of an eight-month trek from Delaware to California. As we see her go through so much in terms of enduring the trip, we get to join her as she lives her dream of doing stand-up in various locations throughout the United States in hopes she will land her own big comedy special. And her jokes are quite funny when we get to see her on stage.

We also get to see kind people from all walks of life helping her out throughout the journey by giving her supplies and letting her stay in their homes, showing the kindness of strangers by proving not all people are bad.

However, instead of a big comedy special, we get a revealing look at Jessica doing her thing on stage as well as see her deal with the realities of her life off-stage. We learn from a radio interview that she suffered a personal incident as a teenager where she was assaulted. She never told anyone, not even her longtime boyfriend. And yet, despite the setback in terms of this shocking information, she rightfully decides not to let it affect her dream and continues forward. We also learn she eventually confronted the one responsible years later and while she didn’t get the response she hoped for, again, her willpower shows her determination to complete her mission.

Specialish is both a funny and emotional look at a comedian who did the impossible to get her gimmick out there. Jessica Watkins literally walked across the country and proved herself to be both a funny woman and a human being who had suffered and have the determination to not give up despite all obstacles. Definitely a film worth checking out.

WFG RATING: A

Random Media presents a Glass House Productions film. Director: Jessica Watkins. Producer: Jessica Watkins. Writers: Jessica Watkins and Jason Wehling. Cinematography: Jessica Watkins. Editing: Christine Simon.

Cast: Jessica Watkins

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