RLJE Films has released the trailer for The Opening Act. The movie stars Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians actor Jimmy O. Yang as a struggling comedian. The movie is written and directed by stand-up comic Steve Byrne (Always Amazing) and was produced by Vince Vaughn. RLJE is all set to release Opening Act in theaters, on demand, and on digital HD beginning Friday, October 16th, 2020.
In The Opening Act, Jimmy O. Yang plays Will Chu, who appears to have it all – the job, the girl – but what’s missing is his true passion in life. He wants to become a stand-up comedian. When he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero Billy G., the realities of life on the stage come crashing in. Between relentless hecklers, drunk comedy groupies and hard-to-impress morning radio DJs, things get off to a rough start. Even if he can take the opportunity to learn from his idols and overcome the challenges, Will still needs to decide if he should continue with the life he has, or pursue the one he has always dreamt of – the life of a comedian.
In addition to Jimmy O. Yang, The Opening Act also stars Alex Moffat, Cedric the Entertainer, Neal Brennan, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr, Whitney Cummings, Jermaine Fowler, Russell Peters, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Roy Wood Jr., Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Kathleen Madigan, Felipe Esparza, Moshe Kasher, Brooks Wheelan, and Alonzo Bodden. Yang has been slugging it out as a stand-up comedian in real-life for years. Along with the rest of the comedians in the movie, he can likely relate to some of the experiences that Will Chu goes through.
RLJE Films acquired The Opening Act at the beginning of September. Mark Ward, chief acquisitions officer at RLJE Films, says, “Steve Byrne has created an entertaining and insightful film that showcases the challenges and rewards of pursuing a career in comedy, while also inviting some of the funniest people in the business to take part in his passion project. We are so excited to bring this hilarious film to audiences this fall.” The trailer does not make stand-up life look to glamorous at the beginning, but Jimmy O. Yang still makes it feel funny.
The Opening Act was announced and completed principal photography in 2018. In a recent interview, Jimmy O. Yang spoke about his own stand-up and an epiphany he had watching other comedians. “I remember every time seeing any Asian comedian talk about family or whatever, thinking ‘Yo, that is so true. Nobody’s talking about that. And that’s hilarious.’ It made me feel a little more, I guess relevant. I’m like, ‘Oh man, I feel like my voice is being heard.'” While Yang is playing a fictional character in the movie, he is bringing some of his own life experience to Will Chu. You can check out the trailer for The Opening Act above, thanks to the RLJE YouTube channel.