Linda Morel and Kieth Raskin stand in front of a production trailer bearing their production company logo in Altadena. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Production team readies for future of ‘Weird City’

A star-studded cast and a futuristic new “anthology” concept coming to YouTube has an Emmy Award-winning local producer ready to make us think and laugh all over again.

SCV resident Keith Raskin and co. are rejoining Jordan Peele, with whom he worked with in “Key & Peele,” for a new project debuting next month called “Weird City.”

Raskin, founder and executive producer of RASKAL Productions and Linda Morel, also an executive producer at RASKAL Productions, have been hard at work helping create the latest vision from the minds of Peele and Charlie Sanders.

“It really starts with ‘Key and Peele,’” Raskin said, discussing the momentum created from his role on the hit Comedy Central show that garnered awards during it’s five-season run from 2012-15. “We mainly handled all the nuts and bolts of the show.”

This new effort by Raskin and Morel brings a host of names you’ve heard of for a look at what the future might hold for the suburb of Weird, 30 years in the future.

For Raskin, this new show on the world’s most popular online streaming platform is just latest stage in an accomplished career, and one of a number of shows for RASKAL right now.

Climbing the Ladder

Raskin has worked his way up the ladder in the entertainment industry — using hard work to get from the bottom to the top.  

“It’s persistence,” he said.

Raskin began as a production assistant in his early 20s.

“It’s doing everything that nobody else wants to do,” he said.

His first job,the guy did not want to hire him because he wore a tie to the interview, he said. “I ended up working for him for seven years.”

His first boss is still his friend and mentor today.

Step-by-step, he climbed the ladder, having jobs ranging from production coordinator, production manager, associate producer, line producer and founding RASKAL productions as an executive producer.

“Keith is known for producing single-camera comedies including “Teachers” on TV Land (recently picked up for season 3),” according to his company’s website.

Teamwork

Raskin and Morel have been working together for years, on more than just the original YouTube original “Weird City.”

“We’re basically left brain and right brain,” Morel said. “We can be on a couple different shows at one time and still feel there is one person running the show.”

When Raskin met Morel, he asked her in an interview about a production coordinator position, she said. “I wanted to produce and work my way up, and I got the opportunity to be really hands on.”

They continued to produce together as the faces of RASKAL productions, both working on emmy nominated and winning shows.

Raskin produced multiple seasons of the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning comedy series, “Key & Peele,”  he said. “I started on that show and then brought Linda in.”

In 2016, Morel won a Primetime Emmy for Best Variety Sketch Show with “Key & Peele,” while working as a producer.

Today, they’re both working on producing season one of “Heathers” TV show for Paramount Network as well as many other shows with media companies, including “Weird City.”

RASKAL offices are in Santa Clarita, where Keith has raised his two kids with his wife, Amber.

“We shoot in Santa Clarita all the time,” he said. “We do lot of half-hour comedy in and around Los Angeles.”

RASKAL media is also expanding into Toronto, Canada for the first time, he said.  

Latest endeavor

RASKAL media worked with other producing partners to produce “Weird City” as well.

“The challenge with the show is it is supposed to be (Los Angeles) 30 years in the future,” Morel said. “There were challenges in trying to find futuristic locations.”

The cast includes Dylan O’Brien, Ed O’Neill, Levar Burton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Mark Hamill, Laverne Cox, Sara Gilbert, Steven Yeun, Awkwafina, Yvette Nicole Brown, Auli’i Cravalho and more.

“We are really fortunate,” Raskin said about the cast and crew. “We had a such an amazing team. It was so much fun to show up to set everyday and see these them pull rabbits out of their hats.”

The six-episode series is a look into the at life and people in a futuristic town called Weird, according to IMDb.

“All six episodes take place in the same world,” Morel said. “You could watch them out of order and it could still make sense.”

All six will be available  Feb. 13, the first two free on YouTube, and the last four on YouTube Premium.

This latest show promises a fun if not somewhat askew look at the future.

“A little bit like a black mirror comedic edge,” Raskin said.
For more information on RASKAL productions, go to raskalproductions.com. To watch the “Weird City” trailer, go to Youtube.com/watch?v=raJJbbiKtlY&feature=share&app=desktop.

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