Director’s Statement

The genesis of this documentary was an ongoing conversation between Lee Simpson and Jim Sweeney during their numerous car trips to and from The Comedy Store, London. Jim had become increasingly dependant on his fellow Comedy Store Players to help with transportation as his MS worsened. The initial impetus was simply to create a document as a keepsake for his children. Jim came to me with the idea for a documentary in the early part of 2008 and as we worked together it became clear there was a greater story to be told.

This story begins in late 70s’ London; a Catholic grammar schoolboy finds himself in the midst of a cultural revolution. Picking up the torch passed down by Theatre Machine, it’s a story of the growth of improvised comedy, from its emergence on the Fringe to Whose Line Is It Anyway, and onwards to The Comedy Story. It’s a story of how a shared love of theatre, comedy and improvisation created a community. Lastly it’s a very human story about overcoming adversity and striving for creativity in the face of apparently insurmountable odds.

We have been truly fortunate on this project. I would like to thank all of the contributors for being so generous with their time and spirit. The heartfelt feedback from the screenings, with the perfect blend of support and disregard, has been positive and inspiring. I hope it will be for you too.