I don’t know what I was expecting when I started watching the screener for Jason Nash is Married, a semi-autobiographical movie by the eponymous LA comedian Jason Nash and produced by Andy Wood, co-founder of our own Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
The press release, after all, had screamed about the dozens of comedians who appear at various points in the film alongside Nash: H. Jon Benjamin, T.J. Miller, Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins, Nick Swardson... The list could go on much longer. As I logged into Comedy Central's press site, I prepared myself, rather naively, for an hour and a half of dick and fart jokes.
There were some of those, of course, and plenty of hilarious scenes besides. But what stuck with me, as I sat completely still through the surprisingly heavy final scenes, was the film's unflinching, sweet, and sincere look at marriage, and what it means.
The story follows a fictionalized Nash as he desperately tries to sell a TV show to make up for his willful unemployment, while trying (and failing) to live up to his wife's expectations. Stripped of romanticism, Nash's marriage seems both complicated and frequently difficult (not surprising if you’re an unemployed comedian) but also precious, close, and incredibly important.
“There’s no right and wrong in marriage," Nash's character utters early in the film. "Just what will work.”
Sure, the production value was obviously not lavished with money, but the film never seems amateurish. Maybe it's Nash's easy charm in front of the camera: his lines, his sincerity, and knowing when it's better to forgo a punchline in favor of something more profound.
Jason Nash is Married debuts on Amazon Instant and iTunes on Tuesday, June 24.
We got the lowdown from Nash by phone:
On the Town: On the making of the movie
Jason Nash: I’ve always wanted to make a movie, so I said, "Well, I’m going to make a movie." I got a little bit of my own money together, and I would call people and say, “Hey, can you come over for a couple hours? I want to do this thing.” I had a script, and just kept piecemealing it over 2 years. Andy had put together the Bridgetown Comedy Festival so well that I thought, well he can do anything. We figured it out as we went. I had a friend [who helped me] that worked at Cartoon Network. And he could only help between 12 and 1. So we found a diner across the street from Cartoon Network and shot there, and he was like, “I gotta get back, man.” It was fun. It was doing whatever we wanted.
I hope it doesn’t come off as this film is anti-marriage. It’s pro-marriage. That’s how I see it. It’s just honest about what [marriage] is. Most movies are about, “What happens when they fall in love?” This movie’s about “What happens when you’re already in love and you don’t know who you are?” That’s the takeaway: know who you are and who you want to be. If you don’t, you’re going to make mistakes in front the person you love and that’s really painful.
On the pressures to get married
It’s a weird bag of goods to sell people, actually. My parents were divorced and when they got divorced they were so ashamed. I think that’s all crap. I think people are sold this bag of goods that you have to get married to be happy. I see people who are married push that on people. I don’t think that’s right. There’s a bunch of us that jumped into it and we expect it to be everything we ever wanted. And it’s not, and that doesn’t mean I don’t love my wife. She’s my best friend. But I’ll complain about my kids, and people always say to me, “Well, no one told you to have kids!” And I’m like, “No. Everybody told me to have kids. Everybody said that.”
On what his wife thinks of the movie
Here’s the truth. This girl I married is out of sight. Marriage is such a big commitment, but she was just so great, that I just felt like I couldn’t let her pass. The best part about her is she puts up with me. She would let people come shoot at our house, and have someone play her. She wants nothing to do with being an actor or being on camera, but she still puts up with it. I’m lucky that way for sure. You write all this down okay, so she reads it, okay? (Laughs).