A very silly and fun “Saving Bernie” has arrived just in time to give all some much-needed silly self-care from the safety of the home. The new madcap Vimeo web series centers around the what-if Bernie Sanders did not have a heart attack but disappeared because he was kidnapped.
‘Saving Bernie’ is Fun when We Need it Most
While the world sits in terror it helps to have people like “Saving Bernie… and the World” creator Linda Chorney looking to help heal with laughter. All are seeking a real-life miracle as perfectly stated at the beginning of each of the web series episodes:
“Imagine restoring sanity and saving our beloved planet – there is a way, but it will take a miracle”
The inventive funny story has Bernie Sanders not only kidnapped but also shrunken to the size of a tiny doll by a mad Russian scientist. The singer-songwriter and “Saving Bernie” creator costars with the miniature Bernie as a sort of secret agent rescuing Sanders.
While attempting to find out who has plotted against Sanders and find the potion to unshrink him, the whacky end goal is to get him to use her song in his 2020 presidential bid. The audience joins in the fun following Chorney and the miniaturized Sanders as they make a crazy journey getting chased around the world through five continents as they attempt to get back home to save the planet.
As the series unfolds the story follows the series from Campaign Trail to Asia and Antarctica, to swimming the English Channel – to hopping a cruise ship home. Chorney totes the Bernie Doll in Hand on her insanely irreverent globe-trotting mission. It is an absolutely thrilling ride traveling with the indie musician in her efforts to save a kidnapped Bernie through an episodic adventure.
As expressed by the web series creator:
“I created ‘Saving Bernie’ to escape the insanity of reality. It’s just silly. And we all need silly right now.”
Interview with ‘Saving Bernie’ Creator
Chorney, award-winning filmmaker and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, created “Saving Bernie” in an effort to save herself and others from the craziness of the current governing body. To provide a bit of relief from the worldwide pandemic Chorney is helping to heal with some laughter by providing free silly-care for all with a free episode.
The freebie Episode One can be attained at savingbernie.com using the special promo code: FUCORONA (Hit “Purchase” and enter promo code for free stream). Chorney is promoting that all “Hunker down with humor” as the world stays home to end a pandemic.
The series writer-director describes her political-comedy-travel-adventure as:
“Pee Wee Herman meets Austin Powers, Indiana Jones, The Three Stooges and Mel Brooks.”
Carol Ruth Weber: What inspired you to do a web series instead of a single film or a song?
Linda Chorney: I played music my whole life and basically music is little stories but with a melody behind it. My songs are storytelling songs so now I get to tell bigger stories by doing film and I enjoy it. And I implement my music in all of my films.
My inspiration has nothing to do with music for making this at all. My inspiration for making this was my own survival – to prevent me from going crazy. I did it to escape the insanity of the reality right now. And corona hasn’t helped. We released one through four episodes already, but, fortunately, because I am the editor and creator, and do most of the voices in “Saving Bernie,” I can change some of the dialogue of the upcoming episodes to fit the quick-changing times. So, we are having to implement corona in there, unfortunately. I know there are so many people that feel the same way that I do – at least half of America feels the same way that I do and therefore, as an artist, I’m hoping “Saving Bernie” can save them a bit from the insanity with laughter. “Saving Bernie” is not a vaccine but it is medicine.
CRW: What were your hopes for your series when creating and filming versus now that we are amid a pandemic?
LC: Now I think it actually-means even more because I feel people really need something to laugh and escape about even more so, like exponentially. With the coronavirus, it’s that much more important to laugh. Also, a lot of people have stopped production on things because of what is going on and I managed to escape many of the countries where the pandemic was. I filmed in China, Japan, France and England and a cruise ship all in the last six months and managed to escape coronavirus – which is just a miracle – I was in all the hotspots.
It’s uncanny that Bernie [speaking of the doll] and I were both there and Bernie and I both escaped it. He’s like my kid. I never had a kid before so now I have one – it’s my Bernie doll. What’s amazing is I don’t know what it is about the Bernie doll versus any other doll but kids from all over the world were enamored with the Bernie doll – it made them laugh. But of course, I would speak as Bernie [Linda does funny Bernie voice] and they would just laugh and laugh. In fact, some kids wanted the doll – like in Cambodia a kid didn’t want money, he just wanted the doll and I couldn’t give it to him because I need it to film. It’s one of the dolls made in Brooklyn.
The doll was just sitting at my desk since 2016 and I thought I was going to do something with this doll someday and it hit me – I’m going to do this. The plot came to me in 10 minutes on a flight to Wisconsin last year when I was going to a show “WHEN I SING” at a film festival. I had that Bernie doll sitting there and had planned a trip to Cambodia and was wondering what I was going to film there. It’s so spectacular there I could have done a music video. You can watch “Saving Bernie” and travel the world without getting corona. It is the perfect escape while being quarantined.
I didn’t want to do a music video and this came to me – Bernie gets kidnapped by Buddhist monks because the president is threatened by his poll numbers and I go there to rescue him. That came to me on the flight and I said I am going to do it, and when I say I’m going to do something I just do it.
I didn’t know it was going to turn out to be so huge. I could have made a movie out of it but it was too long so that’s why I made it a series. I made it goofy on purpose and not serious with nonprofessional actors because I wanted it that way. I recruited people from all over the world. I said I was going to Japan and asked if anyone in Japan wanted to be in my movie.
I brought a whole bag of bandanas with me because of the bad guys I’d have to have in different places. As it turned out a friend of mine, who’s from New Jersey, Nancy Bishop, put it out on some Facebook Springsteen site. Apparently, Springsteen is like a God in Japan. When I went to Kyoto to film all these people showed up, as far as from Tokyo. They traveled like four hours to be there. This was not in the script originally but everyone showed up with Springsteen tee shirts on. And fortunately, being the writer of “Saving Bernie” I all of a sudden had to write Springsteen into it. You’ll see episode six in Japan. It was just an evolving plot as things happened.
Many things were not in the script that I came upon and improvised such the monk blessing us, and the magic jellyfish and a magic bird in the cave. It was so much fun making this series. I had such a blast making this. I think toilet humor is underrated. I think one of the biggest compliments is that people told me it reminded them of Mel Brooks.
I love having my father in it as Mad Mo and I realized he is a really good actor. My sisters are in it too. I was doing this kind of homegrown but I think that’s what gives it its charm. I am so grateful to all the people who stepped up to be in it. The majority of the people in it loved the message but I did have a couple of actors who are pro-president and they loved being in it too. I was forthcoming when anybody said they wanted to be in the film. When I had auditions, I let them know this was not a pro-president film. I respectively told people if they wanted to bow out it was fine with me but I was upfront about it to let people know what they were getting themselves into.
I am still editing as we go so thank goodness I have this, and I encourage everyone to dive into something creative during this awful time. Take the virus as a curse but the gift is that we now have this time to do something we never could have done before. So, we need to make the best of this by being smart and staying home, watching silly things that make you laugh, and create your own thing. Years from now when they say what did you do during the coronavirus pandemic they can say I did this – and look back and see they got something out of it. But just be smart and stay home.
CRW: What are your dreams for the future for yourself and society?
LC: My dreams are not to have the president reelected. It looks like Bernie is not going to be the candidate for 2020 but his message is delivered in “Saving Bernie” by bashing you over the head with laughter only. I believe everyone should be covered with healthcare and this pandemic proves it.
I wrote this positioning Bernie for a higher calling than the presidency – for him to save the world. I finished in the series to have a second season because the two of us are going to be crime fighters. We are the dysfunctional duo that needs to save the world – the democratic socialist and a teenage boy trapped in a menopausal woman’s body is what you get in “Saving Bernie.”
CRW: Have you found laughter to be the universal language?
LC: If you watch it you get it. Laughter and music are the only things that is going to get us through this – and removing the president from office and finding a vaccine.
CRW: What can we do to promote music and laughter to heal all when the world needs it most?
LC: Just put it out there and that’s what I’m doing. The reason I made the first episode for free is to help people get through this pandemic.
Because the bar for being president is pretty-low right now Bernie and I are looking to do more important things than just the presidency – we are looking to save the world.
‘Saving Bernie’ Helps with Break from Real-Life Fears
Although political based all should enjoy the utter comedic takes on both sides. Even those on the right will appreciate a spoof to get lost in as they laugh at the premise of Bernie being kidnapped while more progressives will appreciate the efforts taken in saving the Senator.
Excitement starts in the first episode as travels begin with Chorney to Cambodia in search to find the kidnapped presidential hopeful. It is cool seeing the beautiful sites from the safety of the home – such as the wondrous temple in which Chorney takes viewers through as she shouts Sanders’ name. A break from the silliness is the sober, poignant reality that occurs when the film’s creator and star passes by land mine survivors playing calming music.
Absolutely-hysterical is the first sight of Bernie. Viewers find that he was not only kidnapped but shrunken to miniature doll size with a crazy potion by a nutty mad scientist from the USSR. Following is much humor reminiscent from “The Three Stooges” and “Abbot and Costello” to “Laugh-In” – along with spoofing modern society.
The imaginative Chorney added in the script interesting facts about history and even specifics about English words and terminology. Along with taking us traveling through beautiful countries are also lessons about why we must have environmental concerns. The beautiful scenery definitely-makes one long to take a trip to the lovely locations – giving all a goal to aspire to once our nightmare pandemic is over.
“I created this series knowing Bernie was a long-shot for the nomination,” says Chorney, whose real-life cult classic indie film, “When I Sing,” has won 11 film festival awards in the past three years. “So even if he doesn’t win, we need his message to win: That every American should have healthcare, that every American should have a good education, and that we should preserve our planet for future generations.”
New “Saving Bernie” episodes premiere every Tuesday on Vimeo. Single episodes are available for streaming at $1.99 – or $14.99 for the entire series.
At a time when the public has no outlet to enjoy entertainment in a live setting, Chorney is encouraging more artists to live stream their art online. Her hopes are to have creative types pull together to make these difficult times a bit easier. “Saving Bernie” is a total feel-good adventure encouraging people to play and enjoy life more together.