Of all the new TV shows debuting this summer, the one I’m most excited for is Showtime’s I’M DYING UP HERE, a one-hour drama series set in the not-so-glamorous world of stand-up comedy in the ’70s, when comics and audiences alike were less concerned about political correctness.
As a huge fan of the art form that is stand-up comedy, I frequently visit The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, so the idea of a TV series that explores the idea of comedy club regulars resonates with me. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a big fan of Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow’s HBO series Crashing, which takes a different approach to similar thematic material. I’m Dying Up Here looks much darker and the scope of the series appears much larger, given its ensemble cast.
Melissa Leo stars as Goldie, a brassy comedy club owner who rules over her business with an iron fist, but nurtures her comedians with tough love. The Oscar-winning actress is joined by Ari Graynor, Michael Angarano, Clark Duke, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, RJ Cyler, Al Madrigal and Jake Lacy.
The series promises to delve 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. Though as we’ll surely learn in time, there’s no such thing as an easy laugh for Goldie and her motley crew of comics.
Recurring guest stars include Stephen Guarino, Brianne Howey, Jon Daly and Ginger Gonzaga, while guest stars include Dylan Baker, Robert Forster, Cathy Moriarty, Alfred Molina and Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Sebastian Stan.
Stand-up veteran Jim Carrey serves as an executive producer along with Michael Aguilar, Christina Wayne and series creator Dave Flebotte, who also wrote the Jonathan Levine-directed pilot. The series is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by William Knoedelseder.
I’m Dying Up Here will kick off Showtime’s summer lineup when it debuts on Sunday, June 4 at 10 p.m. I know I’m dying to see it (cue rimshot)!
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief