Dying To Kill
Directed by Raymond C. Lai
Produced by Stanley Yung, Koji Steven Sakai, Raymond C. Lai, Michelle Sugihara
Written by Dwayne Perkins & Koji Steven Sakai and Raymond C. Lai
Starring Dwayne Perkins, Lynn Chen, Johnny Skourtis, and Brooke Markham
A paint by the numbers stand-up comic has four jokes to make his captor laugh or die trying.
Meet Schafer Jones, loyal husband and serviceable comedian. Schafer’s initial promise of comedic genius never came to pass. Schafer’s in a functional rut, telling jokes that pay the bills, but don’t inspire or challenge audiences. His wife Tracy Jones and manager/best friend Jeff Pringle have been with Schafer through thick and thin. They think Schafer is the funniest guy they know and it breaks their hearts to see him reduced to a human bad joke karaoke machine. People in the comedy world kind of shake their heads at Schafer’s lot in life. Even Jenna, a waitress at Schafer’s home comedy club and number one fan, racks her brain for the reason Schafer hasn’t ascended the comedy ranks. Schafer, however, has come to terms with current station. Schafer isn’t under any false pretenses about dreams coming true. Schafer’s ready to spend the next thirty years telling jokes in dive bars while scratching out a living for Tracy and their son Marcus.
That is until a seemingly random heckler incites an onstage meltdown, captured for all the world to see. This meltdown is the opening Tracy and Jeff have been waiting for. Jeff uses the meltdown to encourage Schafer to take risks on stage and begins shooting a documentary on Schafer’s comeback. It all takes a hard left turn when Schafer is abducted, tortured and forced to reach new comedic depths or watch his friends and family die before him.
Schafer will experience pain, fear, and complete disorientation, but still be called upon to be funny. Who is behind all this? Can a truly happy person truly be funny? Can Schafer please his abductor and reach his “truth” without people dying? Sometimes we need a nudge. Sometimes we need a push. Sometimes we need to be locked in a chamber and tortured.