Jean Elie & Mike Gauyo On Delving Into Dark Comedy For “Send Help”
As co-creators of ALLBK’s “Send Help” series, Mike Gauyo and Jean Elie bring to television something people never knew they needed; An all-Black cast, clever, dark comedy with first-generation immigrants that makes you laugh and think.
And the series is already getting lots of love online for its inclusion of Haitian-American talent onscreen.
#SendHelpSeries got every Haitian actor I’ve ever met in Los Angeles in it. I’m sold @sendhelpseries @WatchALLBLK
— Ashton Morris (@ashtonmorris1) August 12, 2022
“Send Help” Is Dark Humor With Out The Trauma Dumping
In the series, Jean Elie portrays Fritz Jean-Baptiste, a buzzing first-generation Haitian-American actor landing a starring role on a fictional hit TV show, This Can’t Be Us. As life tends to humble us in real life, Fritz also suddenly faces a turn of events that forces him to reflect on things around him.
The “Send Help” co-creators chatted with TSR about balancing the dark comedy in the series without trauma dumping, creating the perfect recipe for relatable laughs.
Jean Elie: I feel like dark comedy really imitates life, so it only makes sense for us to create something in that dark comedy space versus just balls-to-the-wall comedy. Because we live in a world where…if you don’t laugh, you cry.
We’re constantly dealing with so [much] BS on a day-to-day basis[…}, so we wanted you to feel real, like a place where everyone can relate to and connect to in your everyday life.
Mike Gauyo: The thing is, yeah, we laugh, we enjoy things— but we go through things too. We experience trauma, heat ache, issues with mental health […] things like that. It’s good to be able to discuss it and do it in like an entertaining way.
Jean Elie Shares “Insecure” Audition Blunder
Elie has marked his name in television by appearing in HBO’s ‘Rap Sh*t’ and “Insecure,” but his character Fritz Jean-Baptiste is still nervous about auditioning in the first episodes of “Send Help.”
You have to kind of walk in there like, “if they want me, they want me. If they don’t they don’t.” Nine times out of ten, you’re not going to have that attitude, you have this anxiety.
Jean Elie actually thought he blew a major audition with “Insecure” casting directors, adding that he almost gave up before he even had a chance to audition because he focused on someone else’s repeat performance though the walls of the lobby.
When I I got Insecure, I thought I didn’t get the job. Because I heard someone auditioning and I heard them letting them do it over and over again. I’m like “oh they like him, I’m not going to get this job.”
Elie did get the job, as Issa’s brother in the series. Now he has “Send Help,” his and Mike Gauyo’s carefully executed dark comedy, loosely based on Jean’s life.
“Send Help” is available to watch now on the streaming app ALLBlK. Peep the trailer for the series below.
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