Documentary Julia Scotti: Funny That Way offers a funny and moving portrait into the trans comedian.
Scotti, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, returned to comedy (and Showtime) as a different gender after a 20 year hiatus. Her story is an emotional roller coaster comeback, directed by Susan Sandler (writer of Golden Globe nominated Crossing Delancey) with the film now out on all major VOD platforms.
Julia Scotti: Funny That Way has been a hit with critics, with Indiewire hailing the film as a “must-see.” It’s also been a hit on the film festival circuit, and received the Audience Choice Award at the Paley Center for Media DocPitch Competition.
So what’s the story? In the comedy boom of the1980s, Rick Scotti was headlining in clubs across the country when he came to the dawning realization that nothing felt right. At a time when the words gender dysphoria and gender reassignment surgery were rarely heard, and transgender identity or rights were not openly discussed even within the LGBT community, Rick’s true awakening at age 47 led to a year of hormonal treatments, surgery, and a new identity as Julia Scotti.
And then everyone turned away—former wives, friends, family, comedy world buddies, and most painfully Julia was shut out from any contact with her children. She reinvented herself, spent a decade teaching, and then several years ago, stepped back on stage at an open mic and began her journey back to the world she loves. And just as she returned to comedy, her children reached out to her after 15 years of silence.
Shot over a period of five years, Julia Scotti: Funny That Way tracks Julia’s triumphant comeback, the rough life on the road, and the complex process of reuniting with her children, as comedy becomes the shared language of identity, healing, and joy.
“I fell in love with Julia Scotti one July night in 2015 after seeing her explosively funny and moving comedy set,” says director Susan Sandler. “Later, huddled in a noisy bar, I began to see around the edges of the private Julia—delicate, vulnerable, and real.”
“As we began to exchange histories an undeniable link emerged. A sisterhood. We are women of a certain age with a shared sensibility, and a willingness to say yes to truth, no matter where it takes us. Julia’s story deepens our understanding of not only the transgender experience, but of the human experience of longing to be who we truly are, no matter the price. And by that example, she invites us to be free.”
As Julia says, her comedy always has to be “fearless and honest”, and America can feel both in her performances. Since coming back to comedy in 2011, she has been named one of the Top Five Transgender Comedians in the Country by Advocate Magazine, and has performed at LGBTQ events across the country, and was one of the winners of the Laughlin Laugh Festival in Nevada. But she wasn’t done yet.
Simon Cowell said that “you genuinely made me laugh” as she introduced herself to a national audience on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. She was the first transgender comedian to appear on national television and was a quarter-finalist on the show.
Not content to sit on her laurels, Julia went on to record her first, best-selling comedy CD entitled, “Hello Boys I’m Back!” and is gearing up to record her second one. This year, she is being featured on the Showtime Television Network Special, “More Funny Women of a Certain Age.”
More information on Julia Scotti here.