Standing Up (Drôle), French comedy series

Mariama Gueye, Younes Boucif, Elsa Guedj, and Jean Siuen

Standing Up (Drôle) comes from Fanny Herrero, who also created the Call My Agent series. It’s about four struggling stand up comics who are friends and cluster around a comedy club called Drôle.

In Standing Up (Drôle), the four comedians lives and problems are the center of the series. We see into their families and situations and watch the process as they write jokes and search for laughs.

Here’s a run-down of the four key characters.

Mariama Gueye and Younes Boucif in Standing Up

Aïssatou (Mariama Gueye) normally plays to small rooms. One night she has a friend record her set. She jokes about massaging her husband’s prostate. The video goes viral and she starts getting bigger, better jobs. Her poor husband, Vlad (Olivier Kissita) is mortified. He’s a teacher working on his thesis. They have a small daughter.

Nezir (Younes Boucif), on the right above, delivers food on his bike to support himself and his dad. He’s funny himself, and charming on stage. He makes a lot of money writing jokes for other people as the series moves through its six episodes.

Bling (Jean Siuen) and his sister (Maï Anh Le) run the comedy club. Bling was a success for a while. He had a TV show and was well-known. Now he can’t write a joke to save himself, he uses drugs and drinks too much. He’s a mess. Even when he cleans himself up and hires Nazir to write jokes for him, he’s undependable.

Finally there’s Apolline (Elsa Guedj). She’s a rich kid who has been in college forever with a major in art history. She secretly wants to do stand up, Her sense of humor is twisted and dark (as she is). She and Nezir become a thing. Her mother’s expectations for Apolline hold her back from her dreams. Nezir helps her realize them.

The characters were well developed and interesting. There were occasional laughs amid all the striving. Episodes were about 45 minutes each, so binging all 6 in a day or two is easy.

You can watch the series on Netflix.

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