Fresh-off starring in the popular HBO dramedy Insecure, Jean Elie and Mike Gauyo are serving up their own coming-of-age series with Send Help.
The dark comedy follows a first-generation Haitian American young man struggling to overcome the challenges of “making it” in Hollywood, whilst coming to terms with a recent family tragedy.
Elie and Gauyo told HipHollywood exclusively the show was a labor of love, not only because it highlights their personal experiences living in L.A. but also their Haitian heritage — something rarely seen on TV.
“This is probably the first of it’s kind series where we get to amplify Haitian American voices on television,” said Elie. “Usually they come in as bit parts of bit characters or side characters that we don’t really get to explore. In this series we get to do that.”
“It’s important to us to be able to express our culture,” said Gauyo. “And of course, there have been shows out there before about an actor living their lives in L.A. and doing that thing, but this is very specific to a Haitian American actor doing it. That’s never been told before.”
In the series streaming now on AMC AllBLK, Elie plays Fritz, an out of work actor reeling from a recent tragedy who must now provide for his very demanding Haitian family.
Similar to Insecure star Issa Rae, Elie is wearing dual hats on and off camera. Thankfully he says he learned a lot during from Rae and others during his time on the show.
“Like, she’s on set 1 second and the next minute she’s in a meeting in the back for producing session, and then she will look at edits for something else and then she’s back in the scene with us. So it’s seeing her bounce around from job to job on the show that she’s creating and still be able to remain composed and do the work was beautiful to see.”
Meanwhile Gauyo says he’s learned a lot from the Insecure writers room and watching show runner Prentice Penny.
“I really learned how a room operates, how a room should operate. I think Prentice Penny was really good at helming a room and taking charge of a room. So seeing that, I really wanted for us to be able to mirror that in the writers room for Send Help.”
The first episode of Send Help is available now on AllBLK.