Cherie Kerr, the Orange County Crazies comedy improv troupe founder, is following up her 2013 indie comedy We’ve Got Balls with another: The Show Can’t Go On.
The new 90-minute mockumentary, which is in post-production, features Kerr leading a camera backstage during a Crazies production of the sketch show Orange is the New Orange, which is portrayed as being fraught with problems. It was filmed in Kerr’s 78-seat De Pietro Performance Center in downtown Santa Ana, where the OC Crazies also mount classes and performances.
The two-act, real-life Orange is the New Orange, which opened in March and closed in May, featured five theme pieces based on the kinds of characters inhabiting Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County. Kerr has what her movie calls the “Rich Housewives of Orange County” imprisoned for crimes against fashion, including wearing white after Labor Day and attending the boat parade with a wristwatch on the same wrist as a smartwatch.
Like any live show, there are bound to be calamities along the way to the stage. Rather than lament about them, Kerr says she began taking notes with the idea of parlaying the experiences into a movie loosely based on those events. She also drew incidents from other shows by the Crazies, although Orange is the New Orange apparently set a new standard for muck ups.
“I’ve done dozens of sketch shows in the past 30 years, but never have I encountered such madness,” says Kerr with a laugh. “It came down to laugh or cry. I preferred to laugh and so did many others in the cast.”
Disasters with Orange is the New Orange failed to derail the Orange County Crazies, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020. Kerr was also a founding member of The Groundlings, and the cast of her film We’ve Got Balls included an actress she came up with in the Los Angeles improv troupe, Lynne Marie Stewart (who is also Pee-wee Herman’s Miss Yvonne). The project also marked the last movie appearance by Groundlings creator and founder Gary Austin, who passed away in 2017.
I seem to recall Kerr having appeared briefly on camera, perhaps as an extra, in the zany We’ve Got Balls, which was about small town folks trying to save their bowling alley (played by Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley) from a greedy developer. Having debuted at the 2013 Newport Beach Film Festival, Balls picked up eight awards on the festival circuit as well as a distributor, Indie Rights. It’s currently available for streaming on Amazon, iTunes and other platforms.
Kerr is in front of the camera much more in The Show Can’t Go On, playing herself of course. “It has really been cathartic,” Kerr says, “and really a blast making fun of myself.”
Some of the original cast members from the Orange is the New Orange stage version also appearing in the film include Rich Flin, Matt Morrison, Kim Sava, Tony Gracia and Georgia Davis. Those who did not perform in the stage show but were cast in the film include Elizabeth Millan, Lianne Silano, Barbara Wilder, Ashly Reynolds, Sam Stokes, Skylar Falgout, Robin Fitzgerald, Caitlin Zinn, Durk Thompson, Paige Dugan, Ray Feiner, Dave Stephens, Jake Boldt, Ben Straley, Prateek Damodaren and Joe Ortiz.
The production crew includes: Chris Warren, director of photography; Prateek Damodaren, first assistant director; Elliott Rodriguez, sound engineer; Katherine Lorentz, unit production manager; Georgia Davis, line producer; and Keagen Fritz, editor.
Kerr, who is to be honored with an Arts Orange County lifetime achievement award on Oct. 16, can soon celebrate a sophomore filmmaking effort in the can, although she still has a ways to go to catch up to the number of films made by her Hollywood writer and director son, Drake Doremus, who has 12 directing credits on his imdb page.
Doremus also produced Love Antosha, a documentary on a young actor who was taken from us too soon, Anton Yelchin, who starred in Doremus’ 2011 rom-drama Like Crazy, opposite Felicity Jones. Love Antosha, which rolled during the April-May Newport Beach Film Festival, will be screened at the Arclight in Los Angeles on July 30, and it’s due for release in August. Meanwhile, Doremus’ next drama, Endings, Beginnings, which stars Shailene Woodley and Jamie Dornan, is scheduled to make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and hit U.S. theaters later this year.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.