"I'm a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won't." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
YELLOW BRICK HELL
When I was younger there was a store in the mall that had a small picture viewing machine, which even at that time was antiquated called a mutoscope. The mutoscope operated on the same principal as a flip book and was generated by a hand crank. For a quarter, the black and white frames would quickly turn, creating the moving image of Charlie Chaplin. I was probably three or so but I remember the mutoscope. I can also tell you the first time I saw Saturday Night Live, where I was when I first heard Seinfeld's act, and recall feeling tremendously overcome watching Man On The Moon, the Andy Kaufman biopic as a teenager. I can't tell you when I first drove a car or where I went, haven't any memory of my first day of high school or college, but I can tell you every line that got a laugh when I gave a "campaign speech" in middle school or more acutely which lines did not. Milestones which held meaning for normal people, meant little to me, mentally I was always somewhere in the future.
After years of performing material that was far removed from my life, my college friend, Matt Cohen spent the better part of two years convincing me to do something a little closer to my own experience. I couldn't envision the project, and wasn't sure our initial ideas would translate. He pressed and my reluctance soon became enthusiasm after we sat in his apartment one autumn day discussing potential storylines. Eventually, we decided I would play Jack Cimonnan, a comedian, and idealistic dreamer.
Jack wants all the prideful things that people who pursue a life in entertainment want but also desires something that he can't quite articulate. Jack wants so badly to matter, connect with others, and holds a very elusive dream of greatness. He believes life should live up to his ideal and can not reconcile when it does not. Our story lies in the fact that his life is exactly opposite of everything he wants it to be.
As we assembled the series we drew from all of the unusual, funny, embarrassing and painfully true stories that come along with choosing a life in entertainment.
In Los Angeles, for instance, I lived with a hostile roommate in his 40's who thought he wrote the blockbuster movie 'Titanic' and believed the film 'Wag The Dog' was based on his life. During that time I worked the grave shift as a waiter at a Bob's Big Boy where I was repeating reprimanded for not singing Happy Birthday to guests as I found singing to strangers demeaning. Poor, I'd occasionally steal corn bread.
Working odd hours and living with an off-balanced individual, I was adrift. I spent my days sitting in my car in a Von's parking lot, avoiding my apartment, contemplating the future. The only person to whom I was acquainted, for a while, was a man in his nineties named Stan. (He'd frequently ask me to drive him to his lawyers but I forget why.)
When I made the shift to New York to pursue comedy in the city I dove in and sought to make up for lost time. Like countless others, I enrolled in every theater class there was to take, participated in deplorable "pay to meets," where actors pay to meet casting and other entertainment professionals, produced videos that no one ever watched, wrote screenplays that no one ever read and brought the ten paying customers only to get those coveted midnight slots at comedy clubs in New York.
Having experienced these unusual events doesn't give me the right to ask you to watch this show, but hopefully the way in which we’ve interpreted these experiences for you does. On the surface this story may resonate with the penniless actors and artists of NYC, but deep down this is a story for anyone who is willing to go through hell to realize their ambitions. This is not a pessimistic story, but rather a hopeful one.
The actors in our show are people we've selected because they're some of the most talented, and funny people we've ever seen. Our director, and crew have worked miracles in all phases of production. This was and continues to be a collective effort. All of the people we've worked with on both sides of the camera have made this process valuable, enlightening, and rewarding.
We're very excited to share it with you and hope that you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.