On June 1st, at the Hollywood Improv on Melrose Avenue, Hulu and Showtime premiered the first episode of their new television series, I’m Dying Up Here. This drama is based on the stand-up comedy scene in the 1970’s focusing on Los Angeles.
It is based on the book by the same title written by William Knoedelseder. The comedy-drama television series was created by David Flebotte. The pilot was written by David Flebotte and directed by Jonathan Levine. The series was executive produced by David Flebotte, Jim Carrey, Michael Aguilar, and Christina Wayne.
Ari Graynor & Clark Duke, two of the stars of the show, made an appearance at the opening this evening. Ari Graynor, who plays the female comic, Cassie, who is struggling to make her mark among all the males, commented,
“Thank you so much for coming to see this. We’ve been working on the show about a year and a half and it’s really something special to us. I had an amazing time making it, all of us have become close friends. Even though it’s about standup in 1973, it mirrors anyone who is creative, their process. It doesn’t matter what time period you are living in.”
Joe Shannon and Nick Cartier who are on the corporate strategy team at Hulu were excited about seeing the show. They told me, “We have a lot of new programming coming to fruition. Our target range audience is from 25-40. “I’m Dying Up Here” has the content that depicts nostalgia… an old Hollywood and edgy feeling. It is aligned with the programming that we are promoting as Hulu moves forward.”
While waiting for the show to begin, I went live on Facebook with stand-up comedian/producer Andy Juett. We bantered back and forth about his career as a stand-up comedian and a producer of the comedy travel series, Hidden America on Seeso, starring Jonah Ray; plus he had just wrapped up producing Super Troopers II starring a stellar cast, including Lynda Carter, Rob Lowe and Brian Cox. Andy had already watched the first episode of I’m Dying Up Here and commented, “It is a dark comedy. I found that it hit home with the theme of jealousy among comics and how one feels envious when other people make it.”
It seems that I’m Dying Up Here has not gone over very well with the critics. Some say the storyline is cliché and melodramatic. As I watched the program, I kept wondering if we all looked so unkempt in the 1970’s. The men’s long hair looked unruly and greasy, whether they wore a three -piece suit or a loose fitting shirt with bell bottoms, not one looked like he cared about his appearance. The aura surrounding their adventures had a desperation and sadness. Even though they were all friends, it was hard to believe they cared about one other. However, they had plenty of sharp barbs back and forth, which I guess is how comedians show their love.
Melissa Leo, Oscar Winner, played Goldie, the tough-talking, sassy momma bear who runs the comedy store. The other cast members were Ari Graynor, Jack Lacy, Andrew Santino, R.J. Cyler Erik Griffin, Al Madrigal, Michael Angarano, Clark Duke and Marvel alum Sebastian Stan, and Alfred Molina. They all hang out in Cantor’s Deli after the comedy shows at Goldie’s, which seemed to be the perfect setting for these characters to reveal their innermost thoughts. Insecurity and angst oozed out of the pores of this motley crowd as they drank coffee and ate deli sandwiches.
So tune into Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here for the inside story on how the lifestyle of comics evolved during the 1970’s in Los Angeles. I’m sure there will be laughter, tears, and a lot of dying (onstage and off).
I’m Dying Up Here premiered on Showtime on June 4th, 2017.
For more information on streaming Showtime Shows: http://www.showtime.com/?s_cid=pse-iduh-7325&gclid=Cj0KEQjwg47KBRDk7LSu4LTD8eEBEiQAO4O6rxtmLXt9GBb0ebQnUzhHoHdVmoxT8nQSapZQ7zV-DJQaApt_8P8HAQ
For more information on Hulu programming: https://www.hulu.com/im-dying-up-here?utm_campaign=BM%2BSearch%2BTV%2BShows&cmp=7958&mkwid=pMywch5B&pcrid=199102071266&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=showtime%20im%20dying%20up%20here&gclid=Cj0KEQjwg47KBRDk7LSu4LTD8eEBEiQAO4O6r4viW5yP8fwNo6giPKngCSu6EnDIaOzeG3J-GvzVBUIaAjRk8P8HAQ&dclid=CKbWgu7PwtQCFZCMYgodptEC-w
Photo Credit : Sheryl Aronson/ The Hollywood 360