Gracie Moore is a mother of three who would just like to find some clean entertainment she can bring her family, including three children, to see.
When she takes her family to a stand-up comedy act that isn’t all that family-friendly, Gracie, who was part of comedy club in college, decides to start her own all-woman troupe.
But finding a half dozen women who are funny, plus just coming up with a name and sketches, not to mention gigs, doesn’t always go as planned — in a humorous way.
Gracie is the lead character played by Lisa Valentine Clark in “Pretty Darn Funny,” the first Mormon scripted comedy series that launched in April 2012. Now they are gearing up for more laughs as the second season launches on Monday, Aug. 19.
Season 1 includes six Web episodes that are about 8 minutes long and show how Gracie establishes the comedy troupe and comes up with the name “Pretty Darn Funny,” as well as showing the troupe's first gig.
Creating ‘Pretty Darn Funny’
Jeff Parkin, associate professor of theatre and media arts at Brigham Young University, and Jared Cardon, an adjunct professor, had worked on “The Book of Jer3miah” Web video series in 2009 that was targeted at teenagers. “It got a really great response,” Parkin said.
Parkin and Cardon, who are the creators and executive producers of “Pretty Darn Funny,” noticed that there is a lot of Web-only entertainment, but the humor and taste levels were generally not family-friendly.
Both noted the impact of strong women in their lives from their mothers and wives and how the blogosphere has given mothers a way to share “deep, authentic stories,” Cardon said.
The idea of a mother taking control of her entertainment choices and starting her own comedy troupe was born. They knew Clark from previous projects and pitched the idea to Deseret Book, which sponsors the series. "Pretty Darn Funny" is produced by Tinder Transmedia.
In the first season, Parkin, Cardon and Clark used a writing class to help script the first season's episodes. For season 2, they brought together a team of writers, including Parkin and his wife, Cardon and his wife, Clark and two other parents.
“The writers are ... parents all in different stages of parenting,” Cardon said. “Writing meetings had kids running around.”
Ideas come from things the writers see in everyday life.
“The real, authentic comedy is where it’s observing life,” Clark said, whether it’s moments as a stay-at-home-mom that seem too ridiculous to be true to you-wouldn’t-believe-what-happened-to-me things that have actually happened to those on the writing team.
“As a writing team, we shared stories of, ‘This is what happened to me once,’ ” Clark said. “It’s really, really fun.”
The idea for “The Hungry Games” came from Clark’s own family. It’s a parody on “The Hunger Games” where a mom is doing the best she can to constantly feed the ever-growing pack of hungry children and just wants a night off from worrying about dinner.
“My 13-year-old said at dinnertime that he could eat all of his dinner and still be hungry,” Clark said of where the idea originated.
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