A new documentary called #NoJoke follows British singer-songwriter Andrew Cole’s journey to write and record an anti-bullying song. The movie, which arrives via VOD services on Oct. 22, shows how Cole got Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Lemmy and others to contribute.
#NoJoke is a highly personal story, as Cole describes in the trailer embedded below. When he was a child, he went to “about 20 schools,” where he was “always the weird guy or the newbie.” He used to tell the bullies: “What do you think, I’m a joke? Do I look like a joke to you?”
So, he wrote a song called “Joke” in order “to make a difference to people who are being bullied right now,” and hoped to “build an army” of stars to help him record it. But without any industry clout, he hatched a plan to pose as a celebrity in order to get attention. For example, he pretended to be accosted by someone posing as a photographer while walking into Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont.
Actor Jeff Goldblum, who moonlights as a jazz pianist, quickly signed on. Others followed for both the song and the movie, including Slash, who is seen playing the guitar solo; Steve Vai; and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who shares his own story about being bullied in the seventh grade by a “big, kinda tough girl.”
“We have great respect for the artists who contributed to make this possible,” producer Jason Loftus said. “Frankly, at the outset no one knew who Andrew was, and there was really no reason for them to do so. We’re thankful that so many of them cared. Some were affected by bullying – as victims or as bullies themselves – and wanted people to know they’re not alone.”
Loftus adds, “We think it’s an ideal time for this conversation, and we thank the experts who participated in this project. We hope it will spark both personal reflection about how we treat each other, and discussion about how we best approach this issue together.”
You can learn more about #NoJoke at its website.