In the early 1990s, the animated show Ren & Stimpy broke cable ratings records and was a touchstone for a generation of fans and artists. Creator John Kricfalusi was celebrated as a visionary, but even though his personality suffused the show, dozens of artists and network executives were just as responsible for the show’s meteoric rise. As Kricfalusi’s worst impulses were let loose at the workplace and new allegations about even more disturbing behavior have surfaced, his reputation now threatens to taint the show forever.
With clips recognizable to any Ren & Stimpy fan and interviews with Kricfalusi and his fellow creators whose work has been both elevated and denigrated by their connection to him, this film is a complex look at a show that influenced the history of television, animation, and comedy. More than a celebration, Happy Happy Joy Joy - The Ren & Stimpy Story forces us to consider the role of media creators and how we reckon with the reality of who they are versus what we see on the screen.
Throughout his 15-year producing career, Ron Cicero has produced a long list of commercials, branded shorts, and experiential installations. He has partnered with industry-leading creatives including Judd Apatow, Aaron Ruell, and Jesse Moss, as well as experience company Magnopus, led by Academy Award–winners Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning. This is Cicero's first feature documentary as a producer and director.
Kimo Easterwood started his career as a tour photographer counting Chris Rock, Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Usher, and ZZ Top among his clients. Since 2015, Easterwood has filmed content for a variety of Fortune 500 brands. His fine art has been featured in galleries in New York and LA. This is Easterwood's first feature as a director.