Sara Dahms is a comedy superfan who even goes so far as to call herself a comedy nerd. She travels all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere, a confirmed comedy addict, and now she shares her travels with us. You can read her ongoing column right here on The Interrobang. Thursday night she checked out the I’m Dying Up Here Showtime Panel with Jim Carrey, Ari Graynor, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, Michael Angarano and RJ Cyler
Fans and supporters of executive producer, Jim Carrey and his Showtime drama “I’m Dying Up Here” got more than their money’s worth at this most entertaining panel. Right out of the gates, it was clear that this was not going to be your typical forum. Mediator Dave Itzkoff from the New York Times attempted to introduce our panel in standard order, but this squad was not having it. Our mediator listed the credits and called the name of our panelists, and one by one a different member would walk out in their place. When he called out Andrew Santino and Jim Carrey walked out instead, the whole house went wild and gave Jim a much deserved standing ovation and because this audience had class and a sense of humor, when Itzkoff finally called out Jim Carrey and RJ Cyler came out in his place, we gave him a standing ovation as well. Fun!
As the panel officially began Jim Carrey, was totally and completely “on” and was the physical/improvisational comedic genius I have always known him to be. He told stories about his early days as a comedian working at The Comedy Store that absolutely blew my mind. A few examples included the time he stayed on stage for a full two hours on a Saturday night and ended up walking the whole room, seeing Sam Kinison perform for the first time and being so moved that he was reduced to tears, and his history of losses and triumphs with “The Tonight Show” and Johnny Carson. Each and every one of the stories he told, combined with the feedback he gave our mediator, could have easily been an amazing hour special in and of itself. However, the actors and actress that made up the rest of the panel were just as intelligent and interesting with their insightful responses which made for a fully satisfying experience. They clearly had a bond that was palpable and a love and respect for comedy that wasn’t only reserved for Andrew Santino and Erik Griffin, the two professional comedians in the cast. One topic that kept popping up was the level of difficulty it takes for the actors to play comedians and the comedians to transform into dramatic actors, but needless to say, each and every cast member is nailing their role. The members of the cast that were present told stories of their struggles and celebrations throughout their career and the time spent working on the show. They were open and honest with their answers, and I for one appreciated the vulnerability.
If you missed this panel, I’m sorry. If you were one of those telling me not to go because “panels are boring” you were wrong. This “I’m Dying Up Here” panel with Michael Angarano, Erik Griffin, Ari Graynor, Andrew Santino, RJ Cyler, Jim Carrey and moderator Dave Itzkoff was both hilariously educational and motivating. It is exactly the type of show you hope to see when attending a comedy festival as respected and prestigious as “Just For Laughs”.