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Dying to Do Letterman

07/01/2011

Steve Mazan is a stand-up comedian whose dream to appear on The Lake Show with David Letterman nearly come to an end when he is faced with life-changing news. Mazan talks to WCL about his documentary and the road ahead.

(from dyingtodoletterman.com) Steve Mazan was a funny kid with a big dream. From the time he was 12 years old, he wanted to become a comedian for one reason, and one reason only: to perform stand-up comedy on David Letterman's show.

Like all eager comics, he hustled for work in small clubs across the country, taking any gig he could earn. The pay was crummy, the progress miniscule, and some of the jobs ridiculous (like performing comedy at a minor league baseball game without a working microphone!) But Steve continued hoping that "someday" his dream might come true.

Then he received news that would change his life forever. Steve was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer, and learned he might only have five years to live. That was in 2005.

Fighting through the fear and refusing to let depression swallow him whole, Steve chose to make the most out of his remaining time&he would dedicate what was left of his life to living his dream: performing on The Late Show for his idol, David Letterman.

This life-affirming, funny documentary chronicles Steve's moving five year journey. Verite footage mixed with intimate diary cam and home movies shot by Steve gives Dying to do Letterman a raw, incredibly real edge as it looks at cancer and comedy in a brand new light.

Beginning with Steve's decision to "live his dream or die trying" friends and family members pull together to launch a grass-roots campaign called "Dying to do Letterman," http://dyingtodoletterman.com . They hope to grab Dave's attention. Steve entertains audiences everywhere and enlists their help in reaching out to Letterman. Thousands of Steve's comedy fans email The Late Show with the request, "book Mazan!" It looks like everything is going great&until Steve gets an email himself.

Letterman's executive producer informs Steve that the show 'gets these requests' all the time, and while they're sorry he's sick, it would be 'impossible' to make this dream happen. He's at a devastating crossroads. But, ever the fighter, he decides he'll just have to 'live longer' and get on the show the old fashioned way: being funny in as many clubs as possible. Keeping audiences laughing in clubs everywhere, Steve works hard to become the best comedian he can, all the while using humor to help him deal with his disease. He even creates his own top ten list: The Top Ten Benefits of Catching Cancer.

Over the next four years, Steve battles his health, self-doubt, and bankruptcy as he chases his "impossible" dream.

Through it all, Steve's new age wife, Denise, struggles to support the quest as best she can, all the while subjecting him to a slew of alternative healing treatments in the hopes he'll live just a little longer. More than simply ensuring he survives to appear on Letterman, she aims to keep Steve healthy enough to father children-a life experience he's just not ready to undertake.

Along the way, Steve obtains hysterically honest advice from comics who've appeared on Letterman like Kevin Nealon, Ray Romano, Brian Regan, and many others. In a surprising, action-packed sequence, Steve takes his new comedy material to Iraq, where, while performing for the troops, the base is bombed and he has a close call with death. Steve exclaims, "being so close to that explosion showed me&it's not just cancer that can kill you!" Steve even manages to forge a shaky relationship with the comedy booker at Letterman's show, but as the years roll by, he begins to wonder if he's wasted his precious time on a silly childhood fantasy.

Just when all seems lost, Steve gets a big call: The Late Show may be interested in booking him. But when a horrible misunderstanding strikes, has Steve blown his one and only shot at his dream? As the film comes to a close, Steve finds himself alone in a hotel room in New York City, waiting for a phone call from the show: will his dream finally come true?

Hilarious and heart-breaking, Steve risks everything to prove dreams matter.

Dying to do Letterman is a roller-coaster ride of laugher, tears, and reversals of fortune that boldly says, "if you stop chasing your dreams, you're already dead."

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