Com­edy isn’t just for laughs

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television - I’m Dy­ing Up Here,

In keep­ing with an in­creas­ingly com­mon trend, the pi­lot episode of this se­ries was re­leased a few weeks ago with the aim of warm­ing up the au­di­ence for the head­line at­trac­tion.

From ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Jim Car­rey and cre­ator David Fle­botte ( Des­per­ate Housewives), and based on the book by Wil­liam Knoedelseder, comes I’m Dy­ing Up Here, a dark com­edy set in the Los An­ge­les stand-up scene of the 1970s.

The com­edy club run by Goldie (Melissa Leo) is a very spe­cific world, with its own rules. There is a three-week wait­ing list for am­a­teur night; if Goldie likes you, you per­form in the cel­lar, then maybe the main room. No one gets paid. But Goldie’s ul­ti­mate power is that of gate­keeper to The Tonight Show Star­ring Johnny Car­son, com­edy’s Mount Ever­est.

The cast will be mostly un­fa­mil­iar to main­stream au­di­ences, though com­edy afi­ciona­dos may recog­nise faces such as RJ Cyler, I’m Dy­ing Up Here Clark Duke, Michael An­garano, Stephen Guar­ino and Ari Graynor.

The show has elicited some early crit­i­cism that it is not funny enough. The ti­tle of course refers to the phe­nom­e­non of be­ing in­suf­fi­ciently funny on stage, and nei­ther that nor the lit­eral ref­er­ence to death is prima fa­cie funny.

More­over, af­ter Louis CK’s Louie and the re­cent Crash­ing by Pete Holmes, au­di­ences may al­ready have re­alised that be­hind-the-scenes looks at the lives of comics — real, or semi­fic­tion­alised — of­fer some in­sight but not too many laughs. Here we en­counter the pathos of en­ter­tain­ing drunks by re­veal­ing “the most em­bar­rass­ing, shame­ful and painful mo­ments of your life” — not be­cause they want to, but be­cause they lack the courage to tell any­one else. stream­ing on Stan. new episodes each Mon­day,

Ari Graynor as Cassie, left, and Melissa Leo as Goldie in

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