Go behind the laughs with comedy director Steve Carr as he joins host Kevin Goetz for a lively and enlightening conversation. With hit movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Daddy Day Care, and Dr. Dolittle 2 under his belt, Steve has mastered the art of crafting crowd-pleasing and enduring comedies. In this episode, you’ll gain insight into Steve’s journey from directing hip-hop videos in the 90s to directing comedic blockbusters. Steve also offers thoughtful perspectives on the state of comedy films today.

Movies as Comfort Food

Steve shares a touching story about John Travolta revealing that he and his daughters watched Paul Blart, Mall Cop to help laugh through the grief after his wife’s death. This leads Kevin and Steve to discuss how comedies like Steve’s serve as “chicken soup for the soul” – simple comfort films that families can laugh along to even during tough times.

“He said that he and the girls sat and watched Paul Blart and just giggled and laughed and I was really appreciative of it and I was like that’s better than two Nickelodeon awards.” – Steve Carr

Nerves and Laughs for Next Friday

Steve vividly recounts the magical and exhilarating experience on opening night for his first feature comedy Next Friday. He describes sneaking into theaters to gauge audience reactions, and hearing roared laughter during the parts he had hoped would land. Steve calls this career highlight “total validation” and says the feeling was “as good as any drug you can take.”

The State of Comedy

Steve and Kevin have a thoughtful discussion about factors contributing to big-screen comedies struggling in recent years. They cite increased PC culture making edgier films unlikely to be greenlit now, superhero franchises dominating, and the rise of streaming bifurcating audiences.

Steve Carr on the state of comedies:

I guess a lot of it has to do with the PC of it all, I mean a lot of films that are my inspirations couldn’t be made now. Everything from Blazing Saddles to almost anything would have a hard time getting made now. I think that’s part of it and I think also, maybe I’m just surmising, it may have something to do with streaming, in the sense that it’s hard to get a huge group of people excited about what is an intimate or clever comedy.

A Change in Focus

Given changes in the comedy landscape, Steve shares his pivot to writing more original scripts with writing partner Heidi Santelli. He also discusses getting into producing indie films like the upcoming gritty drama Five Pounds of Pressure to diversify.

Producing vs. Directing

Steve details his experience independently producing the low-budget film Five Pounds of Pressure. He calls it a rewarding challenge that gave him total creative control but also new responsibilities like budget woes that directors don’t normally face.

Comedic Influences

When asked about influences, Steve names comedy greats like Mel Brooks, Airplane!, and The Odd Couple – citing the classic TV show as “perfect in every way, shape, and form” with its iconic contrasting lead characters.

Steve Carr on his influences:

It’s just perfect in every way, shape, and form. It’s like the setup of a neat guy and a sloppy guy and they have to live together. It’s Neil Simon figuring out the heart of what’s really funny, and then the TV show just follows up.

Steve Carr’s infectious humor and wealth of comedy directing insights make for an entertaining glimpse behind the scenes. While the future of big-screen comedy remains uncertain, Steve adapts with the changes while staying committed to keeping audiences laughing. His perseverance and focus on heartfelt laughs serve as inspiration. Whether recalling the magic of hearing the Next Friday audience roar with laughter or imparting hard-won lessons from decades directing hit films, Carr delivers a rewarding look at the wonderful world of comedy.

Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

For more information about Kevin Goetz:

Website: www.KevinGoetz360.com
Audienceology Book: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Audience-ology/Kevin-Goetz/9781982186678
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @KevinGoetz360
Linked In @Kevin Goetz
Screen Engine/ASI Website: www.ScreenEngineASI.com