YOU LAUGH BUT IT'S TRUE

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April 10, 2012, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

 

The SCA Alumni Screening Series and Day 1 Films invite you and a guest to a special screening of

You Laugh But It's True

 
Directed and Produced by
SCA Alumnus David Paul Meyer
 
Followed by a Q&A with David Paul Meyer and Trevor Noah
 
7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
 
FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
 

About You Laugh But It's True

In South Africa's emerging world of stand-up comedy, comedians of color have only recently started performing on stage. With the opportunity to finally command the attention of a large audience, they go beyond just settling for easy laughs and confront the legacy of apartheid head on in their material. Against the backdrop of this volatile environment, twenty-five year old Trevor Noah ambitiously pursues his passion to entertain. Yet his fledgling career as a comedian is largely relegated to headlining at corporate events due to the country's comedy scene being so small.

Determined to pursue his dream of performing all over the world, Trevor decides to produce his first one man show, despite his lack of experience performing on stage. Based on the size of the proposed venue alone, it will be the most ambitious debut ever attempted by a comedian in South Africa. To prepare for the show, Trevor revisits his past, creating material from memories of growing up in the township under apartheid. As the child of an interracial couple, a union that was illegal in South Africa at the time of his birth, Trevor's life reveals the story of an outsider who has somehow figured out a way to relate to everyone through his comedy.

Despite this progress, the preparation for the show becomes increasingly difficult as Trevor faces  a multitude of challenges: an underdeveloped comedy scene, criticism from other comics, strained personal relationships, lingering racial tension, and a shocking family tragedy. They combine to for a crisis that threatens not just the  success of the show, but Trevor's dreams of lifting himself and the South African comedy scene to the global stage.

Provided courtesy of Day 1 Films. Not rated. Running time: 84 minutes.

 

About the Guests

DAVID PAUL MEYER (Director/Producer)

David Paul Meyer recently produced and directed his debut feature film, You Laugh But It's True, a documentary about stand up comedy in South Africa. The film follows multiracial comedian Trevor Noah as he creates material from his experiences during apartheid in preparation for a show that will be the biggest risk of his career. Acclaimed actor Anthony Anderson (Law & Order) is the executive producer, and the film premiered in 2011 at IDFA and the Austin Film Festival.

Originally from Goldsboro, North Carolina, Meyer moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to obtain his MFA degree in film and television production at the prestigious School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is currently writing the screenplay for a comedy-heist film starring Noah. Production is set to begin in South Africa in late 2012 with Meyer attached to direct as well.

Meyer’s previous films include Noah's stand up comedy special Crazy/Normal (2011) and Digital Troubadours (2008), a short documentary about Rhett and Link (IFC's Commercial Kings), a successful comedic duo from rural North Carolina. David also wrote, directed, and produced several comedy sketches and spec commercials, including material for comedian/actor Danny Pudi (NBC's Community) that will premiere at Pudi's upcoming one man show. Meyer wrote the feature screenplay Raeford's Grill, a comedy-drama currently in development. Meyer resides in Pasadena, California with his wife Shannon and their two dogs.

TREVOR NOAH (Comedian)

Trevor Noah has performed all around South Africa in The Blacks Only Comedy Show, Heavyweight Comedy Jam, the Vodacom Campus Comedy Tour, the Cape Town International Comedy Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival, and Bafunny Bafunny. His stand up comedy specials include The Daywalker, and Crazy Normal both of which have been released on DVD.

Following his Daywalker performance Noah began hosting his own TV Show Tonight with Trevor Noah which aired on South Africa's MNet network.

On 6 January 2012 Noah became the first South African stand up comedian to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He is currently touring the US as part of the Gabriel Iglesias Stand-Up Revolution Tour.

Noah is the subject of the documentary You Laugh But It's True which will be released in 2012.

Director's Statement

In August 2008, I travelled to South Africa to check out the country?s emerging stand up comedy scene. My plan was to make a short film about it that would satisfy the thesis requirements for obtaining my master?s degree at the University of Southern California?s School of Cinematic Arts.

Though comics had been performing in South Africa for a while, it was only until recently that people of color started appearing on stage. Challenging the establishment, they held nothing sacred. From addressing the lingering racism and economic disparities in the country, to lampooning the current government?s corruption, these comics were successfully creating their own brand of comedy. I found it to be a fascinating and entertaining topic to explore in a documentary.

Under the guidance of my mentor, documentary filmmaker and USC professor Mark Jonathan Harris, I spent a year in pre-production. I soon realized that there was enough content to make this film feature length, and with Professor Harris?s guidance and the support of executive producer Anthony Anderson, I returned to South Africa in August 2009 to begin principal photography.

It was under these circumstances that I came to know Trevor Noah. The child of an interracial couple--a union that was forbidden under apartheid at the time of his birth--he had started sharing his unique experiences on stage. When I first met him back in 2008, he was already making waves, and each time I returned to South Africa, his popularity had increased exponentially. “He?s a supernova,” as one comic put it.

Over the course of the last two and a half years, a friendship developed between us. As I got to know Trevor better as a person, I realized just how much his life story influenced his comedy.  I saw how he dealt with personal tragedies and triumphs very openly while on stage. I witnessed his drive and determination to become the best comedian possible. I learned just how big of an impact that family and friends had on him professionally.

In many ways both Trevor and his comedy are a representation of the new South Africa. Embracing his own personal diversity, he works hard to find the material that will make everyone laugh. His gift is something that I know audiences everywhere will enjoy.

Sincerely,

David Paul Meyer
Director/Producer - You Laugh But It's True

About the SCA Alumni Screening Series

The School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by SCA alumni and faculty throughout the Spring 2012 semester. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening. Many screenings will be overbooked to ensure that capacity is met in the theater. Some screenings will be run from digital sources.

To view the calendar for the SCA Alumni Screening Series, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.

Parking

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Email: aago@cinema.usc.edu