Zaritsky found the setup to one of his most poignant films, , in a joke published in The Globe and Mail. The joker was Carla Zilber-Smith—an incredibly funny entertainer—who also happened to be dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This
musical comedy about dying, won numerous awards and became an audience favourite at film festivals.
Carla was a singer, blogger, and drama professor, but it’s her humour that continues to reach from beyond her grave. A year before she died, Carla made a darkly funny, secret intended for her own funeral. In it, Carla appears with angel wings, a halo and Nirvana T-shirt while extolling the virtues of heaven:
… and the food all tastes like food does when you’re really, really high.
To raise money and support for Carla in her final days, friends organized a benefit show featuring stand up comic Betsy Salkind.
She started off as a Federal Reserve Bank examiner, but clearly Salkind was destined to make people laugh. Her stand up is subversive; tackling religion, sexism and racism, but it’s her that caught the attention of Rosaenne Barr. Salkind became a staff writer for Rosanne and for Saturday Night Special. She is also the author of Betsy’s Sunday School Bible Classics, which presents bible stories with the grizzly details put back in.
Barr is best known for the sitcom Roseanne, based on her personal experiences as a
domestic goddess. Between 1988 to 1997, the show presented the face of a blue-collar working class matriarch who challenged the gentile gloss of other family sitcoms at that time. The TV family included the sarcastic, artsy, rebellious daughter Darlene, who was played by Sara Gilbert.
Sara Gilbert is the younger half-sibling of Little House on the Prairie stars Melissa & Jonathan Gilbert. Sara wrote an episode for Roseanne, and continued to act while completing and arts degree at Yale. She‘s appeared in The Big Bang Theory, is an executive producer and co-host of the day time talk show The Talk. She is married to Linda Perry.
Perry had a big hit with by 4 Non Blondes. She quit the band in 1995 with complaints about how the band was produced—
We’re not that fluffy polished bullshit that you’re listening to. Perry is now a writer/producer, and forged the careers for many pop favourites, notably Gwen Stephanie, P!nk, Courtney Love, and Christine Aguilera.
Aguilera recorded with Linda Perry. The radio version of the song was recorded on the very first take. Perry preferred the
straight, less rehearsed delivery of the vocals. Aguilera has a 4 octave vocal range, and has sold 50 million albums worldwide.