Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Kirsten Brandt


Addiction, Anti hero, Cancer, Comedian, Kansas, Screenplay

Subject Areas

English literature


YOU’RE DYING UP THERE is a feature-length dramatic screenplay about Bob Nash, a struggling stand-up comedian, whose sole focus, after discovering he has stage IV lung cancer, becomes headlining The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. This feature length dramatic screenplay serves as a meditation for how to write an anti-hero, as well as an exploration of the emotional depths of the traditional harlequin role. By stripping away much of the joke-heavy presence that the main character resides in as a public persona, the audience can explore both the depression he experiences and the loathsome qualities he possesses. Nash convinces his manager-slash-ex and his parents that all he has is his legacy, and nothing else can get in the way of achieving that. In doing so, he fulfills his dream, but not only at great cost to his health, but with impact to those around him.