“We’ve been together doing comedy for so long. We’ve had a lot of experience together,” Madsen, of the JK! Studios team, told the Daily Herald in a recent phone interview. “It was a big honor. There’s some really good talent on the show.”
JK! Studios, the original BYUtv “Studio C” cast’s independent venture, will compete against a group of stand-up comedians, sketch troupes and comedic variety acts for the chance to win a $250,000 prize package and an opportunity to perform at the Just for Laughs 2020 Festival on the show, which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.
“We’re really excited. We’re looking to grow and to reach bigger audiences, and this is helping us do exactly that,” Madsen said. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for us, for sure.”
The group has already filmed “Bring the Funny” and can’t go into detail yet about their experience or reveal how many episodes of the series they will appear on. But JK! Studios is “really grateful to be able to be on such a nationally seen show” and hopes to “tap into audiences we haven’t been able to before.”
“I think it will just help us continue to grow,” Madsen said. “It’s been a fun experience to kind of dig into our years of experience together and put it on a bigger stage, probably the biggest stage we’ve ever had.”
JK! Studios was unable to bring its entire 10-member ensemble to “Bring the Funny,” but six cast members will appear on the show including Madsen, Stacey Harkey, Matt Meese, Mallory Everton, Jason Gray and Jeremy Warner.
Madsen said deciding which of the cast would appear on the show “was a bit tricky,” but they came to a conclusion together.
“We focused on what the content was going to be for the competition and then also just general circumstances,” Madsen said. “It’s a tough part of an ensemble, but it was so great to have even the people that weren’t there with us filming, to have their support in writing and helping us do the best we can do.”
“We were pleasantly surprised that he was a judge. We’ve obviously met him before and we think he’s awesome,” Madsen said. “It was just kind of a cool coincidence, and it was fun to see a familiar face there for sure.”
“We were geeking out. It was so great to be able to meet them, and we respect their comedy so much and all that they do,” Madsen said. “It was very surreal, very fun.”
JK! Studios’ family-friendly, “safe for work” comedy style makes the group unique in the competition, according to Madsen.
“I think that definitely gave us kind of an advantage, and at least it set us apart from the other groups, for sure,” Madsen said.
Madsen thinks all of the group’s experience together in Brigham Young University sketch comedy troupe Divine Comedy, “Studio C” and JK! Studios “has been incredibly helpful in such a competitive environment.”
“I think when you’re put in an intense situation, you just draw on your experience, and we have so much experience together that I think our whole journey together has kind of led to this moment of being able to be on the show,” Madsen said. “We’re just very grateful for the whole journey.”
If JK! Studios were to win the competition, Madsen said they would put the $250,000 prize package toward making a movie or big project they’ve always wanted to do.
“Part of JK! Studios and what we’re doing is we’re going after our passion projects and we’re doing it with brands, so we’re kind of building this new business model for the way people consume media and the way that brands are involved with it,” Madsen said.
Things have been going “really great” so far with JK! Studios since the group announced it would be leaving “Studio C” last fall, according to Madsen.
“We’re growing. We’re making really fun stuff that we’ve always wanted to make and just haven’t had the time for,” Madsen said. “It’s great to have a little bit more of that creative control, and we’re making the kind of shows that we feel like are going to be the perfect fit with Netflix or Amazon or that kind of thing, so we’re setting our hopes high and we’re getting there quickly, and it’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun, and we’re really enjoying it.”
Madsen said the response from JK! Studios’ fans and audience has been “incredibly positive and supportive.”
“We’ve been so grateful for the people that have just supported us in whatever we want to make,” Madsen said. “We recognize that doesn’t always happen with comedians and people in our position, so we’ve just been really, really grateful for the positive support.”
JK! Studios hopes to have more opportunities like being on “Bring the Funny” in the future, according to Madsen.
“We’re interested in putting good comedy out there any way we can,” Madsen said.