Filmed in 2001, Hacks is the tale, told mockumentary-style, of a handful of stand-up comedians plying their craft for a talent-poor talent agency. Instead of being the underdog story of success against all odds, “Hacks” instead points out the grim realities of the stand-up world when you’re not quite ready for primetime, daytime or even remedial playtime. Steering the boat on this film is a man as disturbed as his comedians’ routines are disturbing, Glenn Rockowitz. A self-admitted fan of “pudding, pleated slacks and sodomy,” director Glenn Rockowitz takes some time out of his daily ritual of hanging with his 6-year old son and 22-year old Filipino boy-toy, Cinnamon, to talk to Film Threat’s own Mark Bell.
What was your first film?
I made a “simulated” gay porn for a film class at the University of Arizona. It got me kicked out for 10 days. It was called “Silence of the Gams” about a guy who wore a body stocking during sex. There was no slapping sound. Hence the title.
Why’d you stick with filmmaking, especially after getting kicked out of the University?
It was more lucrative than standing on Willshire Boulevard in cut-off jean shorts and a half-shirt that read “One C**k Is Not Enough”
Let’s talk about “Hacks.” It’s been called a mockumentary, a psuedo-documentary and our very own Doug Brunell felt it was a comedy weapon on the scale of a nuclear attack. What is “Hacks” to you?
“Hacks” is a catharsis. Being a stand-up comedian is kind of like being Mark Fuhrman at a NAACP fundraiser. It’s just f*****g painful. “Hacks” is based on true events. It depicts, in a twisted, funny way, what it feels like to be a stand-up comic in America.
You get extra points for answering the question with a reference to an over ten year old murder case. How did you get the cast?
Most of the cast members were stand-up comics I knew from NYC and Chicago. The rest came about from a casting call I placed in Backstage.
What do you think drew them to the script? Was it the harsh reality of the piece, the struggles of a stand-up comedian?
Probably the paycheck. I offered them coffee, snacks and at least two unsupervised hugs.
Hugs are good. Unsupervised hugs are better. Now, you went black and white video with the film, and it looks incredible, but it’s definitely not run of the mill and it was prior to 24p, so how’d you get such a film-like look?
We shot in DVCAM PAL. All for budgetary reasons. We chose PAL for the closer-to-film frame-rate and look.
Any horror stories during filming? Were you throwing real bottles at Slappy?
One of our production assistants had a baby in a bathroom stall at the gymnasium where we shot the opening scene. It was disgusting, mildly erotic and time-consuming.
Will we get to see any birth footage on the DVD?
I put most of the deleted scenes on a 40 minute segment of the DVD. The behind-the-scenes segment where the PA had the baby in the bathroom stall was deleted because the kid is now four years old and is able to use a DVD player.
Let’s talk about the DVD. “Hacks<” is being released via our very own Film Threat DVD label. How did you get involved with Film Threat DVD?
Chris Gore slept with my mother and distribution of my films is part of the paternity suit she filed in 1998.
But seriously, I’m sure there was other interest in the film. What made you decide to go with Film Threat DVD?
Because the other distributor who was interested (Big Black Jugs, Inc.) asked that I disrobe for the contract signing. If they had been Asian or even Polish, I would’ve said ok. But darker peoples make me scared.
Are you happy with how the DVD turned out?
Chris replaced my film with an actual funny movie for the DVD. So now it’s well-worth the cost.
What are you up to now?
I write television and radio commercials for a huge corporate advertising agency. You can see some of my darker work at http://www.finallyfunny.com
Any new films?
One is in the works right now. It’s a love story called “Ka-Blooie” about two star-crossed suicide bombers.
Sounds sufficiently deranged. Anything else you’d like to tell me that I may not have asked about?
I feel comfortable in women’s clothes. And my camp counselor “Chicken Hawk” touched my private parts in the summer of 1982. He told me that if I told anyone he’d kill my parents. Please don’t publish this on the Film Threat site. Chicken Hawk could be reading and get real mad and stuff.
I promise I won’t put this on the Film Threat site. And I’d suggest you go hug your parents.
Glenn Rockowitz’s film, “Hacks,” is currently available for sale in the Film Threat Shop, and can be found in retail shops throughout the United States and Canada.