Comedy isn’t just for laughs
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