Contest Searchlight is a four-episode fictional comedy television series, it is a documentary-style parody or mockumentary of the HBO network's non-fictional series Project Greenlight.
Contest Searchlight starred Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, as TV producers holding a nationwide contest to select a new television series to produce for the Comedy Central network. When none of the proposed submissions prove acceptable, Leary and Clarke end up combining several of the finalist's proposals to produce a new, semi-improvised ensemble sitcom entitled "Jesus and the Gang." The new show ostensibly stars New York City theatre and television actor Peter Gallagher (again playing a fictionalized version of himself), but when Gallagher is hit by a car during the filming of a network promotion, the lead role is shifted to comedian Patrice O'Neal. During rehearsals for the premiere episode, the actors, crew and producers all start fighting each other (and themselves), and "Jesus and the Gang" is permanently shelved.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Contest Searchlight - Patrice O'Neal - Netflix
Patrice Lumumba Malcolm O'Neal (December 7, 1969 – November 29, 2011) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and radio host. He grew up in Boston and developed an interest in stand-up comedy at a young age, first performing in 1992 when his act mainly focused on conversations with his audience. O'Neil became known for his conversational and often confrontational point of view stand-up. His profile rose through appearances on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and, from 2002, Opie and Anthony. He hosted The Black Phillip Show on radio from 2006 to 2008. O'Neal died of a stroke resulting from his diabetes on November 29, 2011, at the age of 41.
Contest Searchlight - Early years: 1992–2002 - Netflix
O'Neal performed his first stand-up in October 1992 at Estelle's in Boston. He had attended an open-mic night at the venue the week prior to his debut where he heckled a performer, who in turn challenged him to try stand-up himself. Comedian Dane Cook witnessed one of O'Neals earliest sets and noted his “gentle-giant appeal ... He already had an edge, but he was a little more vulnerable”. O'Neal developed his act in the Boston area for the next six years, where early on he performed under the name Bruiser O'Neal. In the mid-1990s, O'Neal first met comedian and later close friend Jim Norton. In 1998 O'Neal relocated to New York City, working regular spots at the Comedy Cellar. In early 1998, he took part in the fourth annual US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. He then moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding greater fame: “I tap danced like you wouldn't believe ... trying to get something ... If I'd have had a gun back then, I would have shot myself”. Soon after, O'Neal was flown to England by U.K. stand up John Simmit to play his Upfront Comedy circuit & other gigs, after he was “essentially thrown out of America” as he could not earn enough money, and was unwilling to yield to the demands of club owners that he change his confrontational act. O'Neal worked hard to gain the respect of his peers and recalled it took around five months “for them to go 'Ok, this guy's not playing around”. In late 2000, he took a writing position with the WWE after an associate saw him perform. A big fan of wrestling, he pitched his idea for building a feud over three weeks that culminated in a pay-per-view event which won him the job. He visited owner Vince McMahon's house, traveled with the organization for one week of live shows on their private jet, and directed some vignettes. O'Neal was then offered a 13-week contract, but turned it down as he already had plans, and said if he had kept doing it, “it wouldn't have been a dream ... It was short and sweet”. Later in his career, O'Neal would walk away from potential opportunities such as acting roles on The Office, Arrested Development and Web Junk 20. He later stated, “I'm a professional bridge-burner”.
Contest Searchlight - References - Netflix