I’m Dying Up Here
Jim Carrey’s dramedy in the spotlight
“It’s a gritty, behind- the- curtains look at the light and the darkness of the comedy circuit – delving into the talented yet damaged psyches of those who stand alone in front of an audience, desperate for fame and fortune.”
Created by Hollywood funnyman Jim Carrey, Stan’s new series I’m Dying Up Here is an intense new drama infused with dark comedy, set in a fictional LA stand- up comedy club in the 1970s.
Loosely based on William Knoedelseder’s non- fiction book of the same name, it explores LA’s famed “Golden Age” of stand- up, where comedy as we know it today was just beginning to take shape, and the careers of legends such as David Letterman and Jay Leno were about to take off.
The show opens to a comedian pacing nervously and psyching himself up backstage – he looks absolutely terrified and on verge of panic attack – but then he takes a deep breath and bursts through the curtains to music and applause, as the background song tellingly repeats, “It ain’t easy”.
This is the Sunset Strip and we’re at Goldie’s, the most popular stand- up club in town, where every night a group of dedicated wannabe-top- oftheir- game comedians wait in the hope of performing.
But to get a slot, they first have to win over brassy comedy club owner Goldie ( Melissa Leo,
The Fighter, Prisoners), who mentors them with a tough- love attitude.
If she doesn’t like you, you’re screwed, but if she likes you, you get the chance to perform in the cellar and then the main room – unpaid, of course – and if you really impress her, when you are ready, The Tonight Show beckons, and it’s make- or- break time.
As Carrey explained in a recent interview: “At that time, there was a beam that could catapult people to the stars, and that was The Tonight Show. We all came out and gathered around the heat of that and were hoping for the best.”
It’s a gritty, behind- thecurtains look at the light and the darkness of the comedy circuit – delving into the talented yet damaged psyches of those who stand alone in front of an audience, desperate for fame and fortune.
Laughter is like a drug for the comics and I’m Dying Up
Here looks at how they sacrifice everything to get that fix, as well as the agony of defeat they face when a routine bombs.
As one comedian in episode one says: “Some nights you kill, some nights you bomb, and for some reason you keep coming back” … and that’s to face ruthless competition, crushing disappointment and many tears.
The show features a mix of stellar actors including Michael Angarano and W. Earl Brown, and real comedians such as Stephen Guarino and Ari Graynor, who wrote their own stand- up for authenticity – and they certainly bring lots of humour.
Filled with intense ( and at times raunchy) drama and laugh- out- loud stand- up comedy, this stylish show is highly unlikely to fall flat.
I’m Dying Up Here, from June 12 on Stan
Stage death: The cast of Jim Carrey’s new show I’m Dying Up Here.