For every one of us, including older people, keeping up with life’s changes can always be a challenging task. On top of that, being forced to start over as a result of divorce, an untimely death or any other crisis can be an even greater burden. Yet, as the new improvised comedy series JOANNE BROWN IS HERE demonstrates, such challenges can also lead to very interesting encounters and opportunities.
Having premiered its first 4 (out of 8) episodes on November 15th on its official web site and Youtube pages (see additional links below), JOANNE BROWN IS HERE follows the hysterical journey of its title character (played by series creator/executive producer Joanne Baron) who’s been left flat broke by her recently deceased husband, an accountant who managed to bilk his celebrity clients out of millions while engaging in an extra-marital affair with a younger woman.
Along the way, Joanne attempts to make sense of her situation, while coming to terms with how out of touch she is with life in the 21st Century. The series’ first episode is embedded at the end of this article.
The series, co-created by Baron, D.W. Brown, co-executive produced by Baron, Brown and legendary former NBC Entertainment president/spearhead of its famed “Must See TV” primetime lineup Warren Littlefield (Emmy winner for FX’s FARGO), and produced by Brian Rodda, combines both hilarious improv comedy with a fly-on-the-wall, reality TV style filmmaking approach (dubbed by its creators as “scripted reality”) in each episode.
In addition, the series features memorable appearances by such stars as Robin Wright (HOUSE OF CARDS), Jeff Goldblum (THE FLY, INDEPENDENCE DAY). Justin Chon (from the TWILIGHT series), Tarik Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought, co-founder of the Grammy winning hip hop group The Roots), and Hana Mae Lee (PITCH PERFECT). Each of them portray victims of Joanne’s ex-husband’s crooked accounting practices.
JOANNE BROWN IS HERE’s one-of-a-kind approach to its comedy and story structure came together unexpectedly during a frustrating experience for Baron. “The idea for the show came up as Joanne was in a hotel room in France, riffing about a hotel room that had peeling paint and tattered rugs,” the show’s creators say. “D.W. got inspired and picked up his video camera and started filming her rant. The show developed from that point into the story of a Brentwood matron who came to Paris to confront her dead husband’s mistress, a receptionist at Gucci.”
While Brown served as its entire production team during filming of JOANNE BROWN IS HERE, his and Baron’s working partnerships with the series’ cast, and their experience with improv, proved equally beneficial. “Joanne and D.W. are actors and writers and directors who contacted actors and talent they have worked with throughout their careers across film, TV, and theatre,” responds the series’ creators. “D.W. wrote the stories, and was the entire crew of one. He directed the actors in what we are calling a comedy improv ‘scripted reality’ style.”
Having long admired the works of Judd Apatow, plus Larry David’s CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, Baron and Brown believe that JOANNE BROWN IS HERE will win over fans of comedies that depict a humorous yet realistic view of life.
“We love authentic unique characters and stories, be it comedy or drama television or film,” they explain. “We think it has a wide appeal (with) anyone who likes funny fresh characters and stories. We describe the show as CURB meets GIRLS meets LOUIE.”
Most of all, JOANNE BROWN IS HERE sheds light on how older women are attempting to deal with a world that’s seemingly passed them by – and how they can overcome the difficulties of life itself. “This show is very unique – seldom, if ever, do we see women at this stage in their life navigating sex, drugs, and rap music,” Baron and Brown say. “At its heart, this is a story about re-invention, no matter what obstacles life throws your way. In her quest to find her dead husband’s money, Joanne eventually finds strengths she didn’t know she had.“
(NOTE: Regarding closed-captioning/subtitling of JOANNE BROWN IS HERE, Rodda says: “We are not currently closed-captioned, but will most certainly be once we do our full launch.”)
The first episode of JOANNE BROWN IS HERE can be viewed here:
ON THE WEB: www.joannebrownishere.com (redirects to its Facebook page)