Trevor Boris (centre) shares the stage with his fellow VOT cut-ups.
THE COMEDIANS OF VIDEO ON TRIAL: TREVOR BORIS, DEBRA DIGIOVANNI and SABRINA JALEES at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge), Sunday (November 9), 8 pm. $26-$32. 416-872-1212.
The jury's in, and the Video on Trial comics are a huge hit.
Earlier this week, the vitriol-spewing stars of MuchMusic's bitchy but oh-so-funny critique of cheesy music videos celebrated their 100th episode, and this they weekend perform in a live show sure to sell out the Panasonic.
"Making fun of people is always cool, whether you're in high school or talking with your peers at work," says Sabrina Jalees, one of the show's high-profile regulars. "If you like pop culture, you enjoy the show. And there are always new videos coming in, so there's always plenty of fodder."
Ironically, Jalees was barely out of diapers when some of the videos - especially those from the 80s - originally aired. She jokes that she knew Michael Jackson only as someone who had problems with the law.
"I'm kind of happy I wasn't around then," she says. "You people have a lot of explaining to do."
Still, she's smart enough to realize that even something a few years old can, in retrospect, make you cringe.
"We love to look down and criticize American media, but we also consume it," she says. "This show forces you to think, ‘Wait a second, I was just dancing to this song for real. What am I admiring? Who am I putting on a pedestal? If it's Paris Hilton, maybe I should shoot myself in the head.'"
Comic Trevor Boris began on the show as a commentator and a year and a half ago became its producer. He sifted through hours of footage to put together the anniversary special.
"It's hard to explain its success," he says. "I was making fun of music videos on my couch long before there was ever a show. So maybe it's just something that everyone relates to."
"So you're doing the same thing, only now you have to get dressed," adds Jalees.
"Only sometimes," adds Boris. "Because it's shot from here up, I don't put pants on."
The live show, the two assure me, isn't going to be full of VOT episodes, although there will be a video element. Boris, Jalees and Debra DiGiovanni share the mic and introduce other regulars like Ron Sparks and Dini Dimakos.
The two say the TV show has influenced their stand-up careers. They get recognized a lot on the street - albeit sometimes from the Hannah Montana-loving set - and universities book them because of the show's popularity.
Jalees is set to move south to New York, while Boris is developing a sitcom with MuchMusic and negotiating a comedy CD with a major studio label.
And will the show still go on?
"I can't wait for the 1,000th episode," says Boris. "I'm going to be 50, and I bet you we'll be playing Britney's kids' videos."
Additional Interview Clips
On record label reaction to the show:
On why Rihanna escaped VOT for so long:
Trevor Boris on his E-Talk Daily fantasy: