Jean Elie and Mike Gauyo on ‘Send Help’ series, telling authentic stories and more
The new series from the 'Insecure' alums stars Elie as a Haitian-American actor in Los Angeles.
Jean Elie and Mike Gauyo are elated now that “Send Help” is finally out. The actor and the writer are the co-creators of the new AllBlk series, which is loosely inspired by Elie’s life. TheGrio caught up with the the pair to break down the new show, their experiences in the industry and more.
In “Send Help,” Elie and Gauyo tell a dynamic story of chasing dreams and “making it” in Hollywood. Fritz Jean-Baptiste (Elie) is a successful Haitian-American actor in Los Angeles, who receives a devastating blow when his show is canceled. Still dealing with a recent tragedy and battling imposter syndrome, he tackles universal challenges that many of us do in our day-to-day lives. “Send Help” dives deep into this journey.
“I’m all in my feelings right now,” Elie told theGrio, referring to the show.
For his part, Gauyo expressed excitement about the series. “I’m like ‘oh shoot, people are gonna be talking about it!’,” he exclaimed. “We’re really excited to bring more Haitain culture to the show … first and foremost it is a dark comedy. There are a lot of comedic elements, but there are some serious elements, too, that we discuss. We can’t wait to see what audiences have to say about it and what conversations are created around those themes.”
“Send Help” really takes a hard look at how to deal when life throws curveballs, something to which the creators can relate. “That’s what we go through,” Elie explained. “Life has no chill, and it happens whenever it wants to happen. You can be on top of the world one moment and then the next minute, life can just be pulled away from you.”
Added Gauyo, “This series is loosely based on Jean’s life and his upbringing and certain things that he’s been through. We’re telling it through the lens of this Haitian-American guy and there’s never really been a Haitain-American lead on a show before like this, so we are coming into new territory. But what was important to us was feeling fresh, feeling different, not subscribing to certain ideas of structure and what the show is supposed to look like.”
As Gauyo noted, the show takes a nonlinear approach at times, using the medium of television to plumb the depths of the human experience. “We wanted to show a physical view of how trauma can manifest in someone’s life and what that looks like.”
“It’s also about triggers too,” he added. “What triggers you? When you’re on a high what can immediately take you out and bring you down? Certain things and certain ways we pivot on the show is a tribute to that, and is really an examination of the human mind, but told in a very comedic way.”
Episode 1 of “Send Help” is currently streaming on AllBlk.