Logline: After a freak childhood accident strips him of his sense of humor, a lovestruck high school student embarks on a quest to get it back
Legend has it Charlie Summers was born laughing. And growing up in the 90’s as the grandson of a Hollywood sitcom starlet meant the laughs kept coming! After all, he had access to the hottest jokesters in town and on the day of his sixth birthday they all came out to celebrate. It was the most fun a boy could dream of having – until disaster struck. At the tail end of a comedy of errors, Charlie witnesses his parents get fried to death in a jacuzzi! What happened next, was anyone’s guess. Some doctors labeled it a psychotic meltdown, while another brutally joked that his comedic nerve endings got fried too. All Charlie knew was that was the moment he lost his sense of humor and stopped laughing.
By the age of thirteen, Charlie was stone-cold humorless. Every joke he couldn’t get and every laugh he heard, was just another reminder of what was missing. Jokesters became ‘the enemy’ and Charlie sharpened his sense of cruelty to deal with them. Desperate for a fresh start, Grandma moves them to Kitsilano, a quiet beach town in Vancouver – or as her agent put it, “Canada, where comedy careers go to die!”
Flash forward seven years later. Now that Charlie’s in high school, life has only gotten harder. Chad, the class douche, is constantly betting his friends that he can make ‘the freak’ laugh. Even his teacher, ‘Frosty’, a disgruntled former stand-up comic, can’t crack Charlie and brands him the ‘Happy Clappy Fun Boy’. But everything changes on the last day of classes, the day Lucia, the Mexican exchange student, steps up to the ‘freak’ challenge. Her joke bombs, but once Charlie hears her laugh, he knows he needs to hear it again and again.
Meanwhile, with the arrival of summer, Grandma is sexually charming everyone in town to get Charlie the opportunities she believes he deserves. At the top of the list, James, a fellow California expat and owner of the local beach pub, The Urban Well, whom she convinces to give Charlie a job washing dishes. When Lucia shows up one night with Chad, Charlie loses it and begs the pub’s most loyal patron, Frosty, to take him under his comedy wing. With a little added convincing from Grandma, Frosty agrees to help and cooks up a plan to throw the first annual King of the Beach Laugh Off competition. Under Frosty’s guidance, Charlie learns to harness his deadpan existence into a stand-up routine for the competition. But as he fakes his way through the contest’s numerous rounds and gains Lucia’s admiration, he loses sight of his overall goal and is in danger of becoming the douche he’s grown to hate. When Lucia discovers that his new found sense of humor is just a facade – and Grandma ends up in the hospital – Charlie’s forced to elevate his game and cure his lifelong condition… just in time for the finals against Chad!
Happy Clappy Fun Boy is a portrait of a comic as a young man. With a town full of jokesters made up of a who’s who of comedy, the film is a sweet reminder that it truly does take a village to raise a child. It’s also a fun, summertime romp through adolescence and explicit proof that some people will do anything for a laugh!
SCREENPLAY BY: Rich Letovsky
NOTE: The film is an ode to the 90’s standup scene in Vancouver. It’s a low budget feature that takes place in a small beach community that historically was home to The Urban Well, a local hotspot that hosted a standup comedy night and gave a local teenager named Seth Rogen his first break.