I’m Dy­ing Up Here

Jim Car­rey’s dram­edy in the spot­light

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

“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.

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