I have never met anyone whose life has not been impacted by cancer in one way or another. So, the question posed is, can cancer be funny? In the right hands, the answer is a resounding yes.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the premiere of a new web series. Happy Cancer Chick comes from the minds and talents of Linda Nieves-Powell and Jenny Saldaña. With both women writing, Nieves-Powell directing, and Saldaña starring, they were able to bring together a multi-cultural cast that gels very well onscreen.
Saldaña is a breast cancer survivor with a marvelous sense of humor. Throughout her treatment and recovery, she became an advocate for younger women, who were not encouraged to have regular mammograms. She has helped countless women by teaching them how to navigate the swirling waters of health insurance and resistant doctors.
Nieves-Powell has been writing great material for women in general, and Latinas specifically. She holds the pen responsible for “Yo Soy Latina”, “Jose Can Speak”, and many others, as well as a book, “Freestyle”, that she hopes to turn into a stage production. She’s been able to offer roles to many struggling Latina actresses looking for acting credits.
“Cancer does not equal funny” is the first episode of the web series and introduces: Lola Manola (Saldaña) the Pink Ladies, her cancer support group, Xavier, her yogi, Tristan, her agent, and Cecilia also known as the Big C. As the central characters in the web series, the relationships are established in this episode and there are quite a few laughs to be had. The Pink Ladies are trying to kick Lola out of their group for her use of humor. The yogi is trying to get Lola to focus through meditation, while the agent keeps trying to get her a job. And always lurking in Lola’s mind is Cecilia, the personification of cancer, the thing that changes and destroys lives.
Cancer is definitely not funny, but in the words of Lola Manola, “Isn’t it better to outsmart cancer with a laugh?”