Applause for the funny guys.....Meyer to be honored at comedy festival

By Robert Knox Globe Correspondent / July 1, 2010

Quincy native Kris Meyer has worked on the some of the most popular film comedies of the last dozen years, including “Fever Pitch,’’ “There’s Something About Mary,’’ and “Me, Myself & Irene.’’

An associate producer with Peter and Robert Farrelly, directors of a dozen romantic and “gross-out’’ comedy hits, Meyer believes the world needs laughter.

“Life is tough enough,’’ Meyer said. “Let’s try to make the world laugh. That’s what we do with the Farrelly Brothers. We live our life the way we live our movies.’’

Next week, Meyer will receive the first “Ruffled Feather’’ award at the Plymouth Rock Comedy Festival. The weeklong comedy festival, which begins on Monday, includes screenings of independent short films, appearances by leading Boston-area comedians, and stand-up comedy competitions.

The event also features humorist and stress consultant Loretta LaRoche and Boston anchorwoman Susan Wornick in a session titled “The Art of Laughter in Films.’’ The question-and-answer style event will take place at Plimoth Plantation and is a benefit for the plantation’s educational programs.

Meyer, who went to Quincy schools and Boston College, moved to California after college to find work in the film industry despite long odds against success. “I had the passion and the drive and the love for film,’’ Meyer said.

In Hollywood, he was a given a break by the Farrelly Brothers, who taught him the craft of making movies, and played a role in the making of “There’s Something About Mary,’’ a low-budget blockbuster that placed high on the American Film Institute’s list of best American comedies.

As a producer, Meyer said: “My job is to assist the director in telling the story, to complete his vision, from casting to developing the script, working on the budget, hiring. It’s called packaging the film.’’

Some of his best film experiences were shot near home. “Fever Pitch,’’ a film about the obstacles to romance posed by being a diehard Red Sox fan, was filmed in Boston just as the Sox were making their curse-breaking run for the 2004 World Series championship.

“While we were making the movie, they were making sports history. To be along for that ride was incredible,’’ Meyer said.

He also worked on a comedy about a zoo-keeper with poor hygiene (“Osmosis Jones’’), shot in Jenney Park in Plymouth, the Nathaniel Morton school, and the Myles Standish State Forest.

Meyer is looking forward to the festival to see local comedians such as Jackie Flynn, Patty Ross, Kevin Flynn, and Tony V. He’s also a big fan of Plimoth Plantation, where his great-grandfather, William Ostiguy, volunteered for many years.

Erik Christensen, president of Loretta LaRoche Productions of Plymouth — the comedy festival’s sponsor — said he chose Meyer for his festival’s first award because “he’s been involved with a number of great comedies as a Hollywood film producer’’ and is “a South Shore native’’ to boot.

Christensen also pointed out that Meyer produced an independent film — “Lost Son of Havana,’’ on Red Sox great Luis Tiant’s return to Cuba — and the festival promotes independent filmmaking.

The festival is also holding a July 10 gala honoring Steven Gross of the nonprofit Life Is Good Playmakers (formerly Project Joy), dedicated to healing vulnerable children through play.

The festival will take place at a variety of Plymouth waterfront venues, beginning with a free open-mike comedy night at 14 Union Dockside Bar and Grille next Monday. A stand-up comedy contest takes place Tuesday and Wednesday at the same location and concludes in a final round at Plymouth Memorial Hall on July 9.

The Indie Comedy Short Film Contest takes place on Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m., both nights in the Plantation’s cinema room.

Wednesday night also offers a harbor cruise on the Pilgrim Belle with comic Joey Voices, plus a stand-up night at the RooBar Restaurant. Next Thursday’s schedule includes a comedic battle of the sexes titled “He Said, She Said’’ at the Radisson Hotel.

The festival wraps up July 10 with the Ruffled Feather Cocktail Party at 7 p.m. upstairs in Memorial Hall’s Blue Room. Think “mingle with the stars,’’ according to the festival.

The concluding gala takes place in the hall at 8 p.m. with award presentations and comic turns by Patty Ross, Tony V., and Jackie Flynn. Think Academy Awards, with fewer speeches and more jokes.

Robert Knox can be reached at rc.knox2@gmail.com.