Life among professional comedians is not just a continuous throng of laughter. There is a lot of laughter, but at least half of it is mean-spirited, directed at fellow comedians perceived to be unfairly more successful or justly less successful. There’s also a good deal of complaining, a fair amount of gloating, and a healthy sprinkle of crying. At least, that seems to be the vibe that Showtime and executive producer Jim Carrey are going for with their new comedy drama series, I’m Dying Up Here. Based on William Knoedelseder‘s 2009 nonfiction book, the series lifts the backstage curtain on the L.A. stand-up scene back in the 1970s, when getting three minutes on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show could make a career. However, aside from specific shows, venues and fashion choices, it could probably take place today.
Oscar Winner Melissa Leo stars as a comedy club owner who nurses would-be comedians into the the business. Among her current brood are familiar faces (if not familiar names) Al Madrigal, Clark Duke, Jake Lacy, Ari Graynor, RJ Cyler, and Michael Angarano.
I’m Dying Up Here will go out there and start knocking them dead on June 4.