Real life has always been a rich source of content for comedy, and topical humor that relates to today’s headlines and newsmakers continues to bring audiences laughs. Yet, what if that humor found its way into everyday conversations about our personal lives – and what if it somehow related to the ups and downs of love?
Having premiered on the new video platform Control Top TV and on its official Youtube page, the new comedy web series MY EX IS TRENDING brings viewers the hilarious adventures and chatter of two best friends who share both the heartbreak of failed romance and a fascination with current events, so much so that they often find parallels between their exes and some of today’s biggest stories and personalities. Ten episodes have aired, with new episodes airing next month.
Co-created (with Jennifer Wilson and Jackie Watson of Control Top Productions) by series co-stars Layla Khoshnoudi and Abby Rosebrock, MY EX IS TRENDING stars Khoshnoudi and Rosebrock as two best friends/roommates who also happen to be well versed in world affairs – and who somehow manage to make some interesting connections between their exes and some of the world’s most infamous figures and most controversial news stories.
Rosebrock plays children’s book author CoCo Ball. Having recently published a popular kids’ book that she describes as “the first puppy-centered children’s book series to feature a happily married gay couple,” CoCo is still trying to recover from the damage left by her last boyfriend, Tom, who made his claim to fame thanks to an overly negative review of the popular British drama series DOWNTON ABBEY.
Khoshnoudi portrays dance choreographer Monique Segal (a.k.a. Mo), a lover of the popular kids’ series POKEMON and of the world of modern dance, who finds that her most recent ex, Sam, is just as selfish, uncaring and unkind as the notorious Russian president Vladimir Putin and the controversial U.S. drone program have been known to be.
Last fall, Wilson called Rosebrock to discuss the concept for what would eventually become MY EX IS TRENDING. As it turned out, Rosebrock felt that the series would be the perfect showcase for Khoshnoudi’s strengths as an actress – and as a great way for both to exhibit their comedic sensibilities. From there, Khoshnoudi jumped on board and all three would develop the series’ primary concept.
While relevant topical humor is a large part of MY EX IS TRENDING, mixing that element with character based storytelling is perhaps the biggest factor in the show’s effectiveness. Both would also play a key role in the show’s development. “Jenn (Wilson) called me with the idea to do a comedic show about ‘feminist responses to things that don’t need a feminist response,” Rosebrock remembers.
“I loved the prospect of working with the news, but really wanted something more character based. I also wanted to work with Layla, and I knew she’d want to play a fictional character as well. So Jenn and I kicked around ideas until we arrived at the premise of ‘two Brooklyn girls who relate all the news to their exes.’ Jenn came up with the trending-topic format and the brilliant title, and we came up with the characters and the feel of the show,” she adds.
For Rosebrock and Khoshnoudi, the process of putting each episode of MY EX IS TRENDING together begins with a look through the day’s headlines. “Usually we read up on a few news stories before we shoot or between takes. Sometimes we find ourselves talking about the news sort of by accident, and it fits nicely into the show.”
However, both say that viewers can expect to see further emphasis on CoCo and Monique as the series continues to evolve. “As MY EX IS TRENDING grows, it’s going to be more and more about the characters’s lives.”
Filmed mock-documentary style in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y., each episode of MY EX IS TRENDING focuses on a specific theme, yet is heavily improvised and sketch based. As a result, it brings viewers wacky and often true to life comedy that’s unlike any ever attempted on any web series.
Some of it is loosely based on the real life romantic experiences of both Rosebrock and Khoshnoudi. However, as they explain, not all of it makes the final cut – for obvious reasons. “We try to edit out everything that’s not really funny or extremely revealing of character. Sometimes the show is sad, but it’s never sad without being funny, because we hate all things humorless.”
Filming each episode of MY EX IS TRENDING gave Rosebrock and Khoshnoudi plenty of opportunity to not only strut their stuff in front of the camera, but also to hone their skills behind it. “The two of us shoot the show ourselves, and Abby learned to edit for the show (we’re all learning as we go, in both departments). As the show builds, we’ll budget for gear and maybe even a crew. Abby wants to get her hands dirty learning some other editing suites this summer. But we’re happy with the scale of production at the moment,” the team says.
Even though the process of filming MY EX IS TRENDING had a tremendous learning curve for the show’s two co-stars, it was a rewarding experience for both actresses thanks to their incredible comedic talents. “…The chance to work with Layla and observe her genius is like the all-time artistic jackpot. I come from a UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) comedy background, and Layla doesn’t at all. Yet she knows everything intuitively that people pay thousands of dollars to learn in those classes. Her instincts for finding ‘game’ and escalating jokes are jaw-dropping, but she’s also an extremely well-trained actress. It’s almost a problem; sometimes I’ll lose focus on set because I’m sort of studying how she works,” Rosebrock says.
“Even though Control Top features and develops content by women artists, our audience seems evenly split between men and women. A lot of our male friends are enthusiastic fans because we show them a sort of edgy and appealing side of female existence that they haven’t seen before,” Rosebrock and Khoshnoudi add.
Through MY EX IS TRENDING, Rosebrock and Khoshnoudi hope to continue to bring viewers a unique comedy through the lives of two well informed best friends who’ve got an equally one of a kind perspective on life itself. “Obsession is a major theme—that unbalanced feeling of being fixated on and even “crazy” about certain topics and certain people. We like that we explore that state of mind without making apologies for it. We don’t play the cliché, but we also don’t go out of our way to avoid the clichés that are a part of people’s emotional lives.”
Furthermore, viewers can expect to see plenty of CoCo and Abby’s adventures as time goes on. Says Wilson: “It’s a show that could seemingly go on for a long time. “…As long as there are shitty ex-boyfriends and global conflicts, there will be MY EX IS TRENDING.”
(Note: Wilson says that the second set of episodes of MY EX IS TRENDING will be closed-captioned, as were the first.)