THREE NIGHTS OF NONSENSE and the launch of SHORTWEIRD RADIO's CD Got A Dime? w/ Mark Andrada, Sean Fisher, Kerry Griffin, Jessica Holmes, Scott McCrickard, Ginette Mohr, Rob Nardechia, Jamillah Ross, Nile Seguin, Marcel St. Pierre, Dave Tomlinson, Lex Vaughn, Tabetha Wells, Scott Yaphe, Levi MacDougall, Fast-n-Dirty, Dave Martin, Pamplemousse, Jory Nash, Gord Oxley, Glyph and the Devil's Advocates, October 3-4 at 9 pm, October 5 at 10:30 pm. $10. Tim Sims Playhouse, 56 Blue Jays Way. 416-343-0011. Rating: NNNNN
Think you've seen and heard a lot of sketch comedy? You've got nothing on Marcel St. Pierre.The former Second City Touring Company member owns every episode of Saturday Night Live from the mid-80s through mid-90s and spends much of his time downloading old Bob Newhart, Lenny Bruce and National Lampoon Comedy Hour bits.
"Somebody will tell me about an idea for a sketch and I'll say, "Oh, they did that on Mad TV two years ago,'" he laughs. "I frustrate a lot of comics."
It was the National Lampoon recordings -- which often featured uncredited performers like Gilda Radner, Christopher Guest and Bill Murray -- that inspired St. Pierre's current CD project, Shortweird Radio, which launches this weekend with a series of live performances.
The voices and writers behind the disc read like a who's who of the local comedy scene.
They include The Holmes Show's Jessica Holmes, the Goatee Boys' Sean Fisher and Scott McCrickard, Glyph's Dave Tomlinson and Slap Happy's Kerry Griffin and Tabetha Wells. Oh, and St. Pierre, currently a Theatresports and YTV producer.
Many of the comics met in the cult show Co-ed Prison Sluts, which ran for eight months at the Tim Sims back in 1998. After the show closed, they wanted to re-band to present nights of alternative theatre, but usually ended up drinking beer and watching old Planet Of The Apes movies. Soon each of them began getting gigs and were too busy to do anything en masse.
"None of us can devote time to a specific project together, so I thought I'd create something where people can come in, spend some time and put out their material," explains St. Pierre.
The disc is filled with treasures, from Scott Yaphe's series of Arab-Jew sitcom bits, Mi Gaza Su Gaza (best line: Jihad Me At Hello), to a brutally dark look at serial killers styled like an infomercial.
The targets tend to be pop culture-related, like Yaphe's hilarious send-up of warm and fuzzy movie trailers, or social commentary like Go Back To Your Own Country, where non-white racists discover they're from the same village. A few take on comedy itself, like McCrickard as a comic performing Gladiator-style in a coliseum, or Ginette Mohr's rant about fart jokes.
All of them are short, usually a minute or two in length.
"Attention spans aren't what they used to be, especially here in Toronto," says St. Pierre. "People tend to know where you're going and want you to get there quickly."
St. Pierre sees the disc as a first step leading to radio spots and webcasts, even though some are a bit too edgy for public broadcasters.
"I'd rather go full-force, then we can pull things back. Some material will get people angry. But when people get mad at comedy it's usually because they're forced to look at something that's problematic. They shouldn't get mad at the comic who makes them aware of the problem."firstname.lastname@example.org