UPTOWN — Gentrification is funny.
Or so says Chris Myers, 27, who wants to launch a web series called "Guap" that focuses on the issue and how it affects a Dominican family from Washington Heights that is on the verge of losing its restaurant because of the changing neighborhood around it.
“It’s about Pedro, his mom and his sister, and they have to figure out how to save the restaurant,” Myers said, adding that the family ultimately is going to have to adapt to the changes or fight back.
Myers launched a Kickstarter campaign on July 18 and had already raised $13,644 by Wednesday, just $6,323 shy of his ultimate goal, helped by friends, family and contacts in the film and acting world, he said. He hopes to start filming before September, he said.
Myers, who lives in the Upper West Side, plans to draw on his own experience growing up with a single mother depending on social services, he said.
Myers has studied gentrification for more than a year and even considered Harlem for the show's setting, before ultimately settling on Washington Heights.
“Washington Heights found me,” Myers said. “At first, I was going to write about Harlem, where I have a lot of family and upbringing, but I was overwhelmed by how late-stage gentrification was there."
Myers said his mind naturally moved uptown, where he was able to tap into his network of family and friends who live in the community.
To get a feel for the neighborhood, Myers interviewed locals, read newspapers, websites and other sources, all of which have helped shape the "Guap" storyline, he said.
Myers plans on hiring primarily Dominican actors, he said, “who can bring their own flourishes to the script and role, as well as set me straight when I'm off base.”
Myers and "Guap" is joining an already vibrant laugh scene Uptown filled with regular standup shows and accomplished comedy troupes.
Kevin Berrey aims to make Inwood "the Comedy Capital of Northern Manhattan" with the stand-up show, Dope, he puts on every Saturday at the Park View Cafe at 219 Dyckman St., he said.
Meanwhile, “No Name Comedy Shows” takes place further down on Tuesdays at Word Up Books at 2114 Amsterdam Ave., near 165th Street.
Room 28 performed a comedy skit of an NFL-type draft for bridesmaids in April and is working on a new show for Sept. 21 at “El Museo del Barrio” in East Harlem, according to co-founder, Michael Diaz.