VIDEO: Lorenzo Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm Launch Kickstarter for HUMOR ABUSE: THE DOCUMENTARY
Lorenzo Pisoni has teamed up with friends Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, William Rexer and Sarah Dusseault to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund Humor Abuse: The Documentary, a doc based on his life growing up in the Pickle Family Circus with a clown for a father. Watch the campaign video below!
At age 2, Lorenzo stumbled into the circus ring during intermission with a fully realized silent clown act. And a life in the family business began. It was sealed when he signed a contract with his parents' Pickle Family Circus at age 6, becoming his dad's clown partner.
The documentary will expand on themes in Lorenzo's one man show, Humor Abuse, co-created with Erica Schmidt, which centers on the unconventional father/son dynamics that develop when your father's a clown - and you're his straight man.
The Pickle Family Circus was founded by Lorenzo's father Larry Pisoni and his mother Peggy Snider in 1974. The Pickles played a pivotal role in the foundation of the New American Circus Movement, integrating theater into circus arts and paving the way for Cirque du Soleil and dozens of other successful companies.
Lorenzo's unique story --- and those of his father Larry, his mother Peggy, his sister Gypsy (who recently created the circus work in the Tony-winning Broadway smash Pippin), his godfather (and original Pickle member) Bill Irwin, and many others in The Pickles -- captures the spirit, the lunacy, the daring, the danger and the dysfunction of growing up in a circus family.
Westfeldt met Pisoni when the two played opposite each other in The Explorers Club at Manhattan Theater Club this past summer, and she was instantly captivated by his life story. "It was completely incongruous to me that this straight-laced, terrific actor who looks like Clark Kent grew up juggling, flying through the air, and tap-dancing in a gorilla suit! I couldn't stop asking questions," said Westfeldt.
Hamm and Rexer (director of photography on Friends With Kids) were similarly taken with Pisoni's family history. "Every kid wants to please his father. Not every kid had to learn how to fall down a flight of stairs to do that," said Hamm.
Hamm, Westfeldt, Rexer and Dusseault have joined Pisoni as producers on the doc, and Pisoni and Rexer will co-direct the film. Rexer will also serve as director of photography.
The stage version of Humor Abuse, co-created by Lorenzo and Erica Schmidt, directed by Erica Schmidt, is currently at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles. Performances continue through November 3, 2013.
Lorenzo Pisoni (producer, co-director) started his career as a circus performer at age 2, working in his parents' Pickle Family Circus. After 20 years of performing in circuses around the world, he retired to become an actor, working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in television and in film. He co-created Humor Abuse, the play, with Erica Schmidt in 2009, when it debuted at Manhattan Theater Club Off-Broadway to critical acclaim. Pisoni won the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards for his performance, and he has gone on to perform Humor Abuse all over the US.
William Rexer II (producer, co-director, director of photography) is a director of photography of commercials, documentaries, music videos and feature films. His feature films include in part: Friends with Kids, directed by Jennifer Westfeldt; Ceremony by Max Winkler; The Accidental Husband, directed by Griffin Dunne. His documentaries include in part Thom Zimny's The Promise and the Grammy award winning Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born To Run; Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's The Trials of Darryl Hunt; Peter Gilbert's With All Deliberate Speed; Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz (Grammy nomination); Side by Side, AIDS and Zimbabwe; and Neglect Not the Children (Emmy Nominee).
Jennifer Westfeldt (producer) is a Tony-nominated actress and independent filmmaker, best known for writing, producing and starring in Kissing Jessica Stein, Ira & Abby and last year's indie hit Friends With Kids, which also marked her directorial debut. She and her partner Jon Hamm recently founded Points West Pictures, whose producing credits include Friends With Kids and Sky Arts' hit series A Young Doctor's Notebook, starring Daniel Radcliffe. They have several other projects currently in development.
Sarah Dusseault (Executive Producer) is an urban policy expert who recently worked as Senior Policy Advisor on the successful campaign of Eric Garcetti for Mayor. She is excited to wage a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise sufficient funds to support this remarkable project and film the poignant, funny and true memoir of his life as the son of a clown.
Jon Hamm (producer) is an 11-time Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winning actor for his iconic role as Don Draper on AMC's Mad Men, a series on which Jon also serves as a producer. He produced the indie hit Friends with Kids and last year's Sky Arts hit series A Young Doctor's Notebook, through his production shingle Points West Pictures.