‘We’re Growing and Expanding What Love Looks Like’: Joel Kim Booster Is Shaping the Future of Rom-Coms

I remember reading that Chris Rock got pushback on making his mom Black in Everybody Hates Chris.

It makes me wonder… it’s such an interesting observation about what they think the audience will think about these projects. Ultimately, they were smart enough to let me get my way, but the fact that we even had a discussion about it was really telling to me.

Do you feel that there is still space for the rom-com with the decline of mid-budget films?

You look at the state of the rom-com at the box office, and it hasn’t been stellar, but then you look at Ticket to Paradise starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and that worked, because it had two of the biggest stars in Hollywood helming it. I think the lesson is that rom-coms can exist in two distinct worlds. One is streaming, where the mid-budget movie is still thriving. My movie wasn’t, like, a huge smash, but it was still a successful movie on streaming—its sights were maybe set a little bit more modestly than some movies released theatrically. Or you can have a rom-com starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and it will be a huge success. I don’t know that I’m a creator that has huge commercial theatrical release ideas, and I think I’m okay with that. There’s like a weird stigma, still, about streaming movies, even though streaming is pretty much how most people are consuming media these days.

What do you want for the future of rom-coms?

I think it comes down to seeing people and combinations of people that look really different from the kind of leads that we’ve seen and finding people who are different telling their own stories. It’s also about diversity in terms of storytelling, as well—most rom-coms, even if they look non-traditional, have a lot of traditional storytelling elements. I think we’re growing and expanding, as a culture, when it comes to what love looks like. And a rom-com that’s set outside of New York or L.A. would be fantastic.

You’re coming to London to perform stand-up. What can we expect?

A brand-new hour of stand-up comedy. I just had the Netflix special come out, which was the culmination of several years of material. I’m talking about the things that I’ve always talked about: sex, love, relationships, dating. But this is the first period of stand-up where I’ve been writing about my relationship and its struggles, and a lot of other things beyond the expected.

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