The enigma of comedy and how one becomes “funny” has long been an alluring curse for TV. 30 Rock came awfully close to grasping it but the humor of that show rarely emanated from the writing, direction, or production of the sketches. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip attempted to get inside the mind of a comedy writer while also working as a behind-the-scenes workplace drama, but Aaron Sorkin‘s political appetite proved too large for the show to sustain convincingly. Another dozen or so series in a similar vein have come and gone over the decades and the impetus to become a comedian and be funny for a living has gone unexplored.
That’s one reason to get cautiously excited about I’m Dying Up Here, Showtime’s new comedic-drama about a 1970s comedy club, Goldie’s, and the brave souls that take its stage nightly. From the looks of the latest trailer, which you can take a look at below, the series bounces from stage time to personal glimpses at the characters’ lives, to see how experience becomes fuel for an artistic endeavor. The extent to which the show, which is executive produced by Jim Carrey and stars Melissa Leo as the owner and booker of Goldie’s, will be able to lend insight to this process is yet to be seen but there’s hope enough in its cast – Al Madrigal, Ari Graynor, Jake Lacy, RJ Cyler, and Michael Angarano appear regularly. And if Carrey had any genuine influence on the show, which it seems he did, there’s plenty of experience to pull from here.
Here’s the new trailer for I’m Dying Up Here:
Here’s the official synopsis for I’m Dying Up Here:
The new one-hour SHOWTIME drama series I’M DYING UP HERE explores L.A.’s famed ‘70s stand-up comedy scene where the careers of legends such as David Letterman, Jay Leno and Richard Pryor were launched. The series delves into the inspired, damaged and complicated psyches of those who stand alone in front of an audience “dying” for fame, fortune and, with any luck, a shot on Johnny Carson. I’M DYING UP HERE stars Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (Wayward Pines, Treme), Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher), Michael Angarano (The Knick), Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine), Andrew Santino (Mixology), Erik Griffin (Workaholics), RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Al Madrigal (The Daily Show), and Jake Lacy (Obvious Child) as part of a large ensemble cast. This fictional group of competitive but close-knit comedians is mentored by “Goldie” (Leo), a brassy comedy club owner who rules over her business with an iron fist, but nurtures her comedians with tough love. For Goldie and her crew, there’s truly no such thing as an easy laugh. Recurring guest stars include Stephen Guarino (Happy Endings), Brianne Howey (Horrible Bosses 2), Jon Daly (Kroll Show), and Ginger Gonzaga (Togetherness). Guest stars include Emmy nominee Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), Oscar® nominee Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), Oscar nominee Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull), with Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Martian) and Emmy Award nominee Alfred Molina (Chocolat).
Produced by SHOWTIME, I’M DYING UP HERE is created and executive produced by Dave Flebotte, and executive produced by Michael Aguilar and Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey, along with Christina Wayne for Endemol Shine Studios and Assembly Entertainment. The series is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by William Knoedelseder. The pilot was written by Flebotte and directed by Jonathan Levine.