That’s right, someone made a documentary entirely about poop. I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising. There are documentaries about every topic. Why should poop get left out?
Thankfully, ‘Poop Talk’ is not some sort of sincere and dry documentary about the history of dropping logs. Instead, it’s packed with comedians diving into the smelliest of all subjects, mining out laughs and personal humiliation, and even slipping in a few insightful observations along the way. Undoubtedly, many folks will refuse to have anything to do with a movie about fecal facts. That’s fair. As for anyone just immature enough to enjoy the thought of 69 minutes spent with comedians discussing one of the most private possible subjects? Well, you just struck gold.
In the early going, director Aaron N. Feldman lays the foundation for his silly doody tome with some sincere discussion. Scientists (both credible and some Dr. Drew) discuss the evolutionary and biological reasons that humans are so averse to poo-poos and the valid reasons behind that. (Apparently, we each produce 360 pounds of poop a year on average, if you were wondering.) Great. It’s good to know where you stand with these sorts of things. There will be more thoughtful material later on, but really Feldman is just covering his bases so he can get to the true reason that this film exists. He lines up a collection of comedians and lets them cut loose with their favorite turd tales of woe.
You get to hear Nick Swardson unleash a hysterical story about letting loose a log on the floor to the delight of his roommate’s dog. Then the roommate pops up to reveal that Swardson has yet to admit he was responsible for the smelly specimen, even though it’s now on camera. Nicole Byer spins tales of gleefully eating a burger while on the toilet. Even current Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani talks about his childhood poo phobias and the strange diets he would attempt to cut down on his personal waste.
Everyone Feldman interviews is hilariously candid and openly embarrassed. There’s talk of all the public restrooms that folks have been frightened to use, the bizarre ways in which insecure men are unwilling to deal with the reality of their girlfriends’ poos in relationships. The joys and/or pains of using a bidet make an appearance. (Rob Corddry is a big fan. Adam Carolla remains skeptical.) Everything you can imagine – it’s all there and it’s all funny. It’s actually kind of refreshing to hear these shameful secrets shared by absolutely everyone on the planet discussed so freely and openly, especially when it comes out of the mouths of comics who have been honing their bathroom bits on stage for years.
The film actually has some insight buried inside too: everything from how different cultures approach the poo process and what that says about us, to the question of why we’re all so embarrassed to discuss this topic publicly even as grown adults. Feldman might not have a particular thesis that he’s driving toward, but he does manage to give audiences who show up to hear a bunch of ca-ca jokes some food for thought. If nothing else, there’s never been anything quite like ‘Poop Talk’ before, certainly not for adults. (‘Everybody Poops’ does offer poo help for youngsters, of course.)
Obviously, that won’t make a lick of difference to anyone offended by the mere thought of a documentary about doody. Fair enough. It isn’t something we like to talk about or feel we’re allowed to talk about. But it’s worth wondering why that’s the case. That’s what this silly little trifle of a stink-obsessed movie does. The bulk of the running time may be dedicated to cringe-y and gag-inducing laughter, but that’s all in the service of exploring just what makes this topic so fascinating and alienating in equal measure. The film gives you quite a lot to chew on (not literally!) as well as some scintillating shit stories for those who care about such things. In other words, if ‘Poop Talk’ sounds even remotely interesting to you, get ready for the results to be even better than you ever imagined.