Women are powerfully taking charge of not only their careers, but also how they’re perceived in jobs that are predominately led by men. That’s certainly the case for both acclaimed television helmer, Shannon Kohli, and the lead performer, Raylene Harewood, in the new film, ‘All Joking Aside.’ The actress gives an unforgettable performance in the inspirational drama, which Quiver Distribution is set to release On Demand on November 13.
In honor of the movie’s upcoming distribution, ShockYa is premiering the first exclusive clip from the feature. In the clip, Harewood’s protagonist, Charlene Murray, who’s known as Charlie to her friends, is an aspiring stand-up comic, who’s both thrilled and terrified to be making her comedic stand-up debut in a comedy club. While most of the crowd is supportive of her first performance during an open mic night, one audience member, Bob Carpenter (Brian Markinson), is relentless in heckling until Charlie gives up the microphone. It doesn’t take long before he gets exactly what he wants, and Charlie flees the club.
‘All Joking Aside’ was written by James Pickering, and marks Kohli’s feature film directorial debut. In addition to Harewood and Markinson, the drama also stars Tanya Jade and celebrated comedian, Richard Lett.
Quiver Distribution has unveiled the following synopsis for ‘All Joking Aside’:
Charlie isn’t your average twenty-one year old. Inspired by her late father’s unrealized ambitions, she wants nothing more in life than to be a stand-up comic, and is equal parts thrilled and terrified by the fact that she’s finally old enough to get into a comedy club and actually try her material in front of paying customers. So with a fistful of jokes, and her stalwart friend Kim (Jade) there to get her back, she heads to the Laughing Hyena, one of New York’s faded comedic hot spots, to hit her first-ever open mic night.
Glued to his barstool at the back of the room, with his fourth whiskey of the night in hand, is Bob Carpenter, and he’s not going to stop heckling until Charlie gives up the microphone. It doesn’t take long before he gets exactly what he wants, and Charlie, chastened, flees the club with Kim on her tail.
When she later returns to the Laughing Hyena to talk to the manager Dennis (Lett), he tells Charlie that if she really wants to learn the craft, then she’s got to be writing all the time, and studying people who know what they’re doing. One such person is Bob, who, before his marriage and career collapsed and he became an alcoholic heckler, used to be one of the top touring comics in the country. Dennis pulls out some old VHS tapes of the young and energetic performer, who at first is shown him owning the crowd with his raw, edgy material. Then, in a later clip from his final performance a few years later, he’s literally attacking his audience.
Impressed by this new side of him, and with Dennis’ encouragement, Charlie decides that Bob is going to be her mentor, whether he likes it or not, and sets about winning him over. As the two slowly feel each other out, what develops is an unlikely friendship based on broken families, a healthy appreciation of sarcasm and the undeniable rush of making a whole room full of people laugh.
While discussing why she was drawn to helm the movie, Kohli stated: “There are certain jobs on film sets that have traditionally been crewed by men, and others that are usually filled by women. It was very clear from my first days working in the lighting and camera departments that I was always going to be in the conspicuous minority in (this) world. But as much as there were men who stood in my way, it was also the confidence and guidance of one DP, an older guy who was initially quite skeptical of me, that ultimately gave me my first gig as an “A” camera operator, and paved the road that I’m traveling on right now. From this perspective, I think that there’s something really appropriate about taking ‘All Joking Aside’ on as my first feature, because I’ve got all of these experiences from my own recent past for inspiration, which allowed me to bring a very personal touch to my interpretation of the material.”