Carol Ray Hartsell

Carol Ray Hartsell: From Comedy to Directing: The Journey to “Love Reconsidered”

Carol Ray Hartsell

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What You'll Learn

  • Fulfilling the goal of directing a first feature film before turning 50, exemplifying her determination in a highly competitive industry.
  • Navigating unforeseen challenges, such as COVID-19 shutdowns during production.
  • Behind the scenes of major late-night shows, where she innovated in the digital sphere and worked through pivotal moments in recent American history.
  • The importance of resilience and creating opportunities in the tumultuous landscape of entertainment.
  • The supportive community of the comedy world.

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Episode Details

In this episode of “Story in a Bottle,” host Dan Maccarone pours over the career journey and personal anecdotes of Carol Ray Hartsell, an influential figure in the comedy and digital media landscape. The introductory conversation sets an intimate tone, reminiscing about the tight-knit New York comedy circuit that shaped her early career. Hartsell shares her experiences moving from Alabama to New York, immersing herself in the city’s vibrant artistic culture, and producing critically acclaimed comedy shows.

Hartsell delves into the making of her directorial debut, “Love Reconsidered,” the challenges faced during production, and the serendipitous connections that led her to direct the film. The conversation also covers her tenure at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and her role in propelling the digital content of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” highlighting the nuanced differences in producing digital content for varied audiences. These insights reveal the dynamic and ever-evolving world of late-night comedy from a creator’s perspective.

Notable Quotes:

  • “If you’re this afraid to do it, just fucking do it.” – Hartsell on deciding to direct her first film.
  • “It’s like, well, you could. It was actually easy to do at UCB because they had tech and they did a lot of the work for you.” – Hartsell explaining the beginnings of her show “Lasers in the Jungle.”
  • “As long as I’m still working and doing this stuff, I don’t need the stress of going to a theater that doesn’t want me there.” – Hartsell on continuing her writing and producing career.
  • “It felt like a little bit more of a ghost town.” – Hartsell on shooting “Love Reconsidered” in the Hamptons during the off-season.
  • “Marriage can fail, love can’t.” – Hartsell speaking about her and Sean Crespo’s screenplay, “Divorce Cruise.”

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