Despite the film's title, the minds behind This Isn't Funny are expecting big laughs when they debut their latest film at the Dallas International Film Festival.
Pierce Cravens, a 29-year-old Dallas native, has been busy performing on Broadway, making appearances on television and producing his first feature film. Cravens still believes he has gained the most success with his earliest work, which he did at a very young age.
"You may recognize my work from the Neiman Marcus catalog or from diaper ads," Cravens jokes.
Diaper ads and catalogs, however, are not this pony's only trick. In the past five years, he has appeared on Veep and Boardwalk Empire, as well as a variety of video games. Craven's latest film found him working as an executive producer -- a role that is not so easy for him to describe.
"It's always so difficult to explain a producer or executive producer's role on any project because it always varies so much," Cravens says, "but what I love about this specific project is that the group of producers for This Isn't Funny is extremely collaborative and works very well as a team."
This Isn't Funny is a dramedy about an anxious stand-up comedienne named Eliot who meets and falls for an aimless bicyclist named Jamie, who she accidentally hits with her car. For Eliot and Jamie, the pairing might be perfect but the timing is incredibly wrong.
Eliot is played by real-life comedienne, Katie Page, who used her own material in the film. This Isn't Funny doesn't set out to make the statement that the comedy industry downplays the influence of women artists, but it doesn't avoid it either.
"It's not a central theme, but there are a couple of references within the dialogue of some of the characters about the misogyny that exists in the stand-up world," Page says. "But the most successful comic we meet is a Chelsea Handler-type...i.e., a woman. It was important to us to make that choice and have her be a role model for Eliot."
Director and co-star Paul Ashton agrees that the topic was too large to serve the story they originally set out to tell. Instead, Ashton was more interested in studying the interaction between these characters and how stand up shapes Eliot as a person.
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According to Ashton, even though the film falls across the emotional spectrum, stand-up comedy is a central focus and plenty of hilarity ensues.
"Stand up is what the character Eliot does," Ashton says. "It's part of what shapes her outlook. There is live, original material interspersed throughout from all the stand ups in the film. That shapes the tone of the movie and keeps people laughing."
Cravens is excited for This Isn't Funny to play at this year's DIFF, where it has screenings at the Angelika at 10 p.m. Friday, April 10, and 2:45 p.m. Sunday, April 12. His excitement, however, has as much to do with his taste buds as it does with the festival.
"Anytime I am away from Dallas for too long, I have serious Tex Mex withdrawal."