"Political Promise" is a comedy, but Jack Shepherd endured more than his share of drama trying to finish it.

"Political Promise" is a comedy, but Jack Shepherd endured more than his share of drama trying to finish it.

"The story of how the movie was made might be even better than the movie," Shepherd said.

Shepherd, co-host of Paul Strong's Comedy Showcase on Wednesdays at The Funny Bone, has been doing comedy since the eighth-grade talent show at Monroe Middle School. He always hoped stand-up would be a bridge to movie stardom.

At first Shepherd seemed to be on the fast track. By sneaking into the old Funny Bone at The Continent, Shepherd scored gigs with Martin Lawrence and Chris Tucker at age 16. By 17 he appeared on BET's "Comic View." By 19, he did The Apollo.

Shepherd's big break never came, so in the mid-'90s, a pre-"Undercover Brother" Eddie Griffin encouraged him to pursue scriptwriting.

Griffin's advice?

"Stop being a ho when you can be a pimp," Shepherd said.

Shepherd churned out about 20 scripts. The one that stood out to his girlfriend was a comedy about a politician tormented by a voodoo doll after he abandons his campaign promises. Shepherd described it as "Eddie Murphy's 'Distinguished Gentleman' meets Jim Carrey's 'Liar Liar.'"

Several years later Shepherd met director Sef DeChristopher at a local gym. DeChristopher suggested they collaborate on "Political Promise."

Shepherd approached a Detroit comedy club owner about financial backing, but when a thief walked out with the cash intended for Shepherd, the investor brandished a gun and took Shepherd on an unsuccessful midnight manhunt. Terrified, Shepherd decided to finance the film himself.

That meant years of saving to purchase an industry-standard video camera. Once Shepherd acquired the gear, he had to shoot exclusively on Sundays for almost two years to accommodate his day job. Then came tedious months of editing.

When they finally finished "Political Promise" in 2009, no one in Hollywood bit. Months later, a distraught Shepherd randomly typed the title into his computer and discovered an old e-mail from Maverick Entertainment Group offering nationwide DVD release for the film.

Thus "Political Promise" came out Feb. 8, nearly 14 years after Shepherd hatched the idea. Unfazed by the struggle, he intends to begin his next project soon.

"Another one would be a lot easier," he said. "This is what I'm here to do."