It’s Just Terrible…And You’re Going to Love It!

Author: C.L. Harmon
Category: People
Date Published: March 21, 2022
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They’re ter­ri­ble peo­ple! Just ter­ri­ble! Okay, okay…maybe not ter­ri­ble, but cer­tain­ly bad. Well… not per­haps bad so much as just not very good. Alright…after some thought, they’re actu­al­ly a decent bunch. Fine! They are fun­ny and tal­ent­ed. There…I said it! But it’s not like I call them ter­ri­ble. I mean, I did, but…well, they called them­selves that first. And you know what else? Maybe they are just great peo­ple being very good at play­ing ter­ri­ble peo­ple. And for­tu­nate­ly for those who love a good laugh, they are right here in Okla­homa, Tul­sa, to be specific.

Terrible people cast standing before a window in a brick wall

I recent­ly sat down with the main cre­ative force behind these ter­ri­ble peo­ple, Landry Miller, to find out what it means to be a ter­ri­ble per­son. After view­ing a trail­er for the cur­rent­ly in-pro­duc­tion sit­com Ter­ri­ble Peo­ple being devel­oped in Tul­sa, I was curi­ous how such a project came about. As such, I jumped at the chance to inter­view its creator. 

A native of Clare­more, he is one of those rare peo­ple who knew his direc­tion long before most were even con­sid­er­ing a career path. Even as a child, he longed for the larg­er lights of the cities and stages where the cul­ture for the arts such as film and com­e­dy are promi­nent. Okla­homa has become just that place, espe­cial­ly more so in recent years. Miller was drawn to its envi­ron­ment. But first, he would begin his career in the art of laugh­ter by doing stand-up acts in his church group and in cof­fee shops to earn mon­ey while still in high school. Fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion, he pur­sued his desired career in col­lege at South­east­ern State, where he majored in The­ater and dab­bled in directing.

A Stand-Up Guy

Terrible People cast and crew with a audio tech
Ter­ri­ble Peo­ple cast and crew

A nat­ur­al in front of an audi­ence, Miller, has long been dri­ven to deliv­er the punch lines. He would even trav­el to Tul­sa and Dal­las to per­form stand-up rou­tines dur­ing col­lege. He also began writ­ing com­e­dy at this point with the hopes of sell­ing his work and reach­ing larg­er audi­ences with his own brand of humor. He was fur­ther engaged with friends pro­duc­ing sketch­es and skits dur­ing this time, learn­ing the dif­fer­ent facets of comedy. 

His pur­suit of bring­ing the laugh­ter would even­tu­al­ly lead him to work in tele­vi­sion, even­tu­al­ly writ­ing for shows on TBS, Com­e­dy Cen­tral, and oth­ers. But it would be Tul­sa he would return after real­iz­ing that what he tru­ly desires to achieve is pos­si­ble here at home. Due to today’s tech­nol­o­gy, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­sue his desire in the comedic arts can be achieved from any­where. As such, he moved back from LA and began net­work­ing with like-mind­ed peo­ple in Tul­sa and immers­ing him­self in the Tul­sa com­e­dy scene. It wouldn’t be long before he found a stage…and an audience. 

After estab­lish­ing him­self in Tul­sa, one of the activ­i­ties he became involved with was a vari­ety sketch show called “Talk Show Incor­po­rat­ed .”(Think Sat­ur­day Night Live with a mono­logue) per­formed at Nightin­gale The­ater in Tul­sa. The show began with only a few peo­ple but over time began draw­ing an atten­dance of up to 50 peo­ple every Sun­day evening for two years. 

This expe­ri­ence was a break­through of sorts. It brought him in touch with like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als who took com­e­dy seri­ous­ly as a pro­fes­sion. This would set the stage to bring some great tal­ent togeth­er. Even­tu­al­ly, the stage was set to tran­si­tion into a sit­com set for Ter­ri­ble Peo­ple as well as oth­er projects Landry is affil­i­at­ed with. Miller said these peo­ple bring stand-up, writ­ing, and impro­vi­sa­tion­al skills to the table in all of these projects.

Terrible People Getting Ahead

Sloppy McCoy and Bradley McPherson sit at a table being filmed
Slop­py McCoy and Bradley McPher­son with cam­era tech

“The con­cept for Ter­ri­ble Peo­ple start­ed eight years ago. My col­lege room­mate and I had an idea to shoot a show, and it was sim­i­lar to what we are doing now. Noth­ing real­ly came out of it at the time, but I would cir­cle back to it over the years believ­ing there was some­thing to this idea. 

I would tweak it every cou­ple of years until I even­tu­al­ly wrote the pilot for it,” Miller said. As luck would have it, a stream­ing ser­vice “Optioned” (The right to the first use of the con­cept and writ­ing) the script. But after one year, the stream­ing com­pa­ny must not have got­ten the joke as they had not used it. As is pro­to­col in show busi­ness, the script was legal­ly returned to Miller. And though dis­ap­point­ing, it did show that the idea was good enough to be con­sid­ered by a large stream­ing group. And that pro­vid­ed the con­fi­dence to move for­ward with devel­op­ing it with his grow­ing group of comedic friends.

The plan­ning of pro­duc­tion for the series began, and a num­ber was cal­cu­lat­ed as to what it would cost to pro­duce. After those cal­cu­la­tions became appar­ent, it revealed that math doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, so it became just a pilot. But then friends and friends of friends began chim­ing in about know­ing some­one who had a par­tic­u­lar piece of equip­ment or a place to shoot scenes. 

The pro­duc­tion costs quick­ly began to low­er, and things were quick­ly falling into place and on a bud­get that would work. The show once again became a series. The mag­ic of laugh­ter was begin­ning to hap­pen; an eight-year-old idea became a real­i­ty. Miller, how­ev­er, admits there have been some tears shed along the way. And not those from laugh­ter, but most­ly from beg­ging peo­ple for mon­ey, he quipped. 

But the hard work from the actors and fel­low writ­ers has since been pay­ing off, and they have even been able to attract some investors like Sharon Harp­er, who is the asso­ciate pro­duc­er. She works with mar­ket­ing the series as well as pur­su­ing oth­er investors. Miller said that there have also been those who help pro­duce through per­son­al favors and pri­vate investments.

Tulsa

Pro­duc­tion began in Tul­sa in May of 2021 and has pro­gressed much more quick­ly than ini­tial­ly thought, accord­ing to Miller. Quite remark­able, espe­cial­ly when fac­tor­ing in cast mem­ber Covid absences (not all at once either), the per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives of the actors, and off­set injuries. The logis­tics of mak­ing a show with vir­tu­al­ly no bud­get, ill­ness­es, and actors who have jobs and fam­i­lies is quite a com­pli­cat­ed process, Miller said with a chuck­le. But they have pulled it off, and it is look­ing as though Tul­sa may be home to a stream­ing sit­com now that there is an agree­ment in place from a major stream­ing ser­vice to pur­chase the series. The stream­ing com­pa­ny is being kept a secret at this point…I asked.

standing near fence is Bradley McPherson, Zehava Glazer, Quinn Blakely, Landry Miller
Left to Right: Bradley McPher­son, Zeha­va Glaz­er, Quinn Blake­ly, Landry Miller

Sev­er­al Tul­sa busi­ness­es have gra­cious­ly allowed the cast to shoot sev­er­al of their scenes. Miller admits it helps with per­suad­ing them when we tell them that we are mak­ing a show in Tul­sa, about Tul­sa, with peo­ple from Tul­sa and their Tul­sa-owned busi­ness will be seen on screen. Such a pitch sort of greas­es the wheels of per­sua­sion, apparently. 

Not to men­tion that using only unique busi­ness­es, not chain-run oper­a­tions, helps pro­mote Tulsa’s unique busi­ness­es. Studio30 Tul­sa, the down­town Tulsa’s Sabores Restau­rant, and the Fur Shop have all opened their estab­lish­ments for film­ing. In addi­tion, Tul­sa actors and per­son­al­i­ties such as Evan Hugh­es, Tim­o­thy Hunter, and Andy Axewell have sup­port­ing roles in the show.

Plot

The show fol­lows two male friends and anoth­er male char­ac­ter (who is not real­ly a friend but is dat­ing one of the friends’ ex-wives). Then an intern, a girl­friend, and the ex-wife added into the mix to cre­ate a group of not so moral peo­ple feed­ing off each oth­er to get ahead the best immoral way they can. And though every­one is not doing so well in the get­ting ahead depart­ment, these ambi­tious con artists con­clude they have an answer wrapped up in a ter­ri­ble idea that will change all that. The idea encom­pass­es the sell­ing of bulk quan­ti­ties of essen­tial oils that two of the char­ac­ters hap­pened upon while clean­ing out the garage of the main character’s deceased grandmother. 

But with nei­ther of the friends hav­ing sales skills, they decide to get oth­ers to sell the oils for them. The great idea in actuality…a pyra­mid scheme run by peo­ple who can bare­ly run their own lives. So, what they believe to be a legit­i­mate busi­ness is run­ning a pyra­mid scheme by guys who have no clue as to how a legit­i­mate busi­ness even works. But there is much more to this dynam­ic than just a scam. Each episode is bro­ken down into the minu­tia of life with­in the rela­tion­ships of these ter­ri­ble peo­ple (Think Sein­feld), with the scheme being the under­ly­ing theme tying the char­ac­ters togeth­er. And it is these sce­nar­ios that bring the bulk of the laughter.

terrible people cast near brick wall

There is a cast of six reg­u­lars in each episode, three men and three women. Miller plays Thomas, the main char­ac­ter and the brain behind the scheme. He’s the least ter­ri­ble of the ter­ri­ble with­in the bunch. But he does get dragged fur­ther toward the “ter­ri­ble side” by Braden, his best friend played by Brad­ly McPher­son. The lat­ter doesn’t even try to not be a ter­ri­ble per­son or any­thing else for that mat­ter. Oth­er char­ac­ters include Sum­mer, Thomas’ ex-wife, played by Zeha­va Glazier. And she is the most despi­ca­ble, evil per­son who has ever exist­ed, Miller says of her character. 

Next, we have Der­rick, played by Quinn Blake­ly, who is ener­gy chaos squared and cer­tain­ly a riot in and of him­self. He is unpre­dictable, and the jury is still out on just how ter­ri­ble he actu­al­ly is. But ter­ri­ble enough to run with this crowd for sure. Next in line is Thomas’ girl­friend Jen­nifer, played by Nicole Miller. She is the only per­son who is not ter­ri­ble. Yet, she is sur­round­ed by those who are, there­fore, pulled into their cir­cle of these aspir­ing con artists. Last­ly is Regi­na, played by Sloopy McCoy, who is brought into the mix as an intern. And though she is a bit shady her­self, there is much left to learn about her as her char­ac­ter devel­ops. She is full of sur­pris­es! And off-screen is Jon­ah Ven­able serv­ing as direc­tor of cinematography.

The show brings out the com­e­dy that is woven into the crazy and ridicu­lous that is so often found in life. But it is more so about peo­ple who bring out the worst in oth­ers only to dis­cov­er what is best about them. And these young actors and writ­ers have cap­tured that essence to bring a sense of Okla­homa-style com­ic relief. And it is that very relief that allows us to laugh at our­selves and these ter­ri­ble peo­ple as we scheme through the crazy and ridicu­lous episodes of our own lives.

To watch the trail­er, please vis­it www.terriblepeopleshow.com

A spe­cial screen­ing is set for March 24th at 7:30 pm at the Cir­cle Cin­e­ma in Tul­sa. If you are inter­est­ed in attend­ing, tick­ets can be pur­chased at Everbrite.com.

Miller will be in atten­dance to dis­cuss the show, pro­vide inter­views and answer ques­tions, and be fea­tured on the pan­el, includ­ing his fel­low actors. If you are inter­est­ed in becom­ing a pro­duc­er for the show, please con­tact Sharon Harp­er at www.sweetmalibuentertainment.com or call 918–284-2314. Pre­miere Spon­sor­ship pack­ages are available.

men at an office desk doing work

Unique­la­homa

C.L. Harmon

C.L. Harmon

C.L. is an award-winning journalist who spent many years in the newspaper and freelance fields. In addition to holding reporting and editing positions throughout his career, he also owned and operated a newspaper for several years. He was born, raised, and continues to reside in Oklahoma.

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