Epic Journey

From the Director’s Notebook: Los Angeles, California

Flying down to LA on the day of the Stand Up Planet comedy showcase at the Laugh Factory felt unreal. After 2 years (?) of dreaming and planning; the performance of a lifetime in LA seemed about as likely as Santa Claus.

I’d spent so many months talking with comics in India and South Africa, and hours on Skype with those we had the privilege to work with, but my connection with them was entirely virtual. I’d met the world through laptop: Aditi Mittal from Mumbai, Mpho Popps from Johannesburg and Hasan Minhaj from LA. When you cast any production virtually I think it’s a lot like dating long-distance online – you think you’re in love but you wonder if the person you’ve projected so much hope onto will disappoint.

It did not.

That night at the Laugh Factory had the feel of a wedding in which the favorite rock stars of the bride and groom drop in. Comedy legend Bill Burr sat in a corner in the green room upstairs, and in my excitement I assumed he was there for the Stand Up Planet show. He actually had no idea what was happening and had just stopped by to drop in for a quick set so I pulled him over for a chat with Aditi and Mpho. Some other guy laying on the couch in the corner turned out to be mega-comic Dane Cook who also found himself in conversation with the wide eyed duo.

The true high points, however, were the moments onstage. Each comic was hilarious in the first show, and they killed it in the second. The lineup of James Adomian, Michele Buteau, Nate Bargatze, Hasan, Aditi and Mpho worked even more beautifully than we had hoped. Minds were opened, worlds collided, stereotypes overturned, and pure comedy ruled.

In our final hug Aditi said: “You’ve changed my life.” I can only imagine that her experience felt as unreal to her in that moment as the night did to me. But it happened. We filmed it, and you can see it when Stand Up Planet airs.

1 Comment on From the Director’s Notebook: Los Angeles, California

  1. Papa

    Maybe your first complete paragraph “Shittum Wood” was but the trailer for all the great prose to follow. We need to remove the original from the scrapbook and frame it for your office.

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