Published Apr 26, 2014When Dan Harmon hit the road to record his podcast in front of audiences shortly after being fired from Community, the cult sitcom that he created for NBC, he could scarcely know what to expect. The resulting journey, as charted by Neil Berkeley in the documentary Harmontown, is one brimming with laughter, bonding and the overwhelming desire to make others happy.
As he embarks with his girlfriend Erin McGathy, co-host Jeff B. Davis and Dungeon Master Spencer Crittenden in tow, Harmon is behind on delivering separate scripts to CBS and FOX. In between performing shows, meeting fans and getting inebriated on a regular basis, Harmon is receiving notes from networks and trying to find a spare moment to get the writing done.
Harmon's an overbearing personality full of emotional triggers, best described by Community regular John Oliver as a walking hand grenade constantly itching to pull his own pin, but he's also a prime example of how damaged people are often able to mine their pain for humour. The connection this has created with other outcasts is palpable and therapeutic, though the documentary pulls no punches in also showing Harmon at his worst in a few uncomfortable scenes with his girlfriend.
It's somehow touching how a master of screenwriting structure like Harmon is able to recognize that Crittenden is the real unsung hero of the story, as the bearded 23-year-old was plucked from the audience to lead a game of Dungeons & Dragons on stage and has now been thrust into a whole new world of possibilities.
This might as well be a companion piece to Berkeley's previous effort about visual artist Wayne White, Beauty is Embarrassing, offering another fascinating glimpse into a brilliant creative mind at work.