Showing posts with label Im Dying Up Here. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Im Dying Up Here. Show all posts

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Previewing I'm Dying Up Here




One of the main reasons Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip failed was too many complained that the fake Saturday Night Live show’s skits just were not funny. And that seems to hinder most shows focusing on the entertainment industry. Nashville in seasons years has yet to produce a hit in the real world as big as they pretend they are on the show. I thought Showtime solved this problem last year with Roadies where we never actually got to hear any new material from this stadium filling band, instead leaving the musical moments to their numerous real life opening acts. The only problem was that show was a rare one and done season for the premium network.

Roadies crossed my mind many times while watching Showtime’s latest offering I’m Dying Up Here. Granted this time the medium of the characters are stand up comedians and it takes place in the seventies. This new show also tries to solve the entertainment industry show problem by making these comic amateurs trying to make it in Los Angeles (when Johnny Carson moved The Tonight Show to Burbank in 1972, all the stand-up comics moved out there too). The title of this show even comes from the phrase acknowledging that the comic is not doing a good job.

So do not expect much from the stand up on the show, it is certainly not on the level of a Showtime stand up special. The first set we see even starts out with an abortion joke. And really the hardest I laughed in the first episode was when a hooker takes the wallet off an unconscious guy. And since this is the seventies and not the overly PC current day, there are plenty of sexist and racist joke helped that the cast includes a token woman comic (Ari Graynor, Bad Teacher), a token black comic (Erik Griffin, Workaholics), and a token Hispanic comic (Al Madrigal, Gary Unmarried). Homosexuals should probably happy they are not represented on the show. And that this is the seventies, the decades public hair grooming is on full display during the first two episodes.

Melissa Leo (Treme) is the club owner and kingmaker, you are not getting on Carson without here. There are even a couple of white guys in the cast including Andrew Santino (Mixology) and Stephen Guarino (Dr. Ken). Then there are the newbies who just moved to the city thinking it would be easy like Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), Michael Angarano (Will and Grace), and RJ Clyer (Power Rangers). It should also be noted that I’m Dying Up Here may have the single worse title sequence ever.

Since The Tonight Show is the pinnacle for these young comics, Johnny does show up a couple times (albeit in the form of Dylan Baker) as well as Richard Pryor while two character take a trip to the very seventies game show Let’s Make a Deal. But the eye winks to the time period are not overpowering, what the show really is is a sad look at what many think is a funny profession. These comics have wives, have gotten back from Vietnam, deal with the death of ex-boyfriends, go to AA meeting just to have a crowd, and have to slum it with some really bad day job just for that preverbal shot. Sure not every one of their jokes when they are on stage lands, some may not even supposed to, but it is when they walk out of the spotlight when the show really begins.

I‘m Dying Up Here airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.