Director John Bizarre is also a stand-up who has made appearances on the Tonight Show and the Drew Carey Show as well as directing the documentary, We Love You, Ms. Bevin, a film that focuses on four comedians entertaining the troops on a tour through Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The whole idea of teaching comedy never made any sense to me," Bizarre said recently on a break from editing. "Being funny requires an intangible element. But after watching the class for a few weeks I started to realize that what he was teaching them was how to find their own voices. So..um...yeah. Hey, are you gonna finish that Go-Gurt?"
“John and I first came up with the idea for the film one night after a show. John was busting on me for teaching comedy," Barnhart recalls. "I told him to check out what I was doing before making any judgments and he said fine, as long as he could film it."
Keith Lyle, a comedic actor who some may remember from the film The Hangover, is one of Barnhart's students in the film. "I took the class because I needed some guidance in both my act and career," Keith recounts in a recent interview. "I felt like I was losing momentum and focus. Some will say that those things are part of the process. But, for myself, that negativity breeds contempt. It was time to take my act and comedy career more seriously. I saw it as an opportunity to learn from a world-class headliner that was crystal clear about HIS objectives teaching the class. For Don, it wasn't about money, it's about giving knowledge to those that love the same thing he does - making strangers laugh. And it worked. I have seen HUGE gains in both my act and my attitude. The class helped grow my passion into a hunger."
Barnhart says there are dues to be paid before you can legitimately wear the title of comedian. “Just because you got up on stage at an open mic or some coffee shop and complain about how difficult your Del Taco commercial was that morning…that doesn't make you a comedian. If your not getting paid, it’s just a hobby.”
“Comedy is not pretty. It’s very competitive and not everybody has what it takes to succeed," Barnhart said in a recent interview. "It's a cutthroat business and anything you can do to separate yourself from the rest of the pack is a plus. Besides creating material and performance techniques, I try to emphasize the importance of treating comedy like a business. As a comedian, booker and consultant, it amazes me what would-be comics send out. If you were applying for a job, you wouldn’t send a handwritten resume with no references. My classes are designed to help shave years off what can be a brutal odyssey of gathering experience from the road, and prepare you for a long term career.”
The film was shot in and around Las Vegas at the numerous comedy clubs in town including Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club and the final showcase was at Big Al’s Comedy Club at The Orleans Hotel & Casino.
Both Don Barnhart and John Bizarre continue to tour performing their stand up and promoting the film.