NUGMUTTER'S BACKYARD BBQ, with NUGMUTTER (PERRY PERLMUTAR and NUG), PETE ZEDLACHER, CRAIG LAUZON, FRASER YOUNG, the DOO-WOPS, CONVICTED MELONS and the GAZEBO PALS, at Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way), June 15 to 17, Thursday-Friday at 9 pm, Saturday 10:30 pm. $8. 343-0011. Rating: NNNNN
Between them, there's a considerable physical disparity, but as Nugmutter Perry Perlmutar and Nug are a perfect comic match. NRight off the bat, they look funny. And they're quite aware of this. One is long and lanky. The other woolly and wide.
They also think funny. The wheels never stop turning in their hyperactive heads. That's why you won't see a lot of physical shtick in a Nugmutter show. Most of the action is mental.
They're dialogue freaks, and they make every word count -- which is crucial when the longest sketch they do is under five minutes. They boast about once doing 11 in eight.
"We have sketches that are 10 seconds," laughs Perlmutar, lounging with Nug in the lobby of Second City, where they take the Tim Sims Playhouse stage for a three-night stand this weekend with a hot slate of all their friends.
"We learned early the beauty of the one-minute sketch. It's good because people don't realize it's going to end so quickly."
"And I hate to see sketch troupes who do bits that were funny for the first 30 seconds carry them on for another 15 minutes," adds Nug.
Funny rule "I hate sitting through that. So when we write, I always think about that. One of our main rules is that our stuff has to make us laugh. If we don't laugh at something, we throw it in the garbage. That makes for some pretty short sketches!"
And some smart ones. After two and a half years on the job, after hooking up at York University, the pair have a flair for taking seemingly obvious situations and turning them into something seriously weird.
A memorable sketch has Nug as a beer-swilling fitness instructor. In another, Perlmutar's a stripper doing a private birthday show for his hapless pal. And in one, Nug is a female groupie for Perlmutar's dead-on Mick Jagger.
"We can get away with being stupid, too," says Perlmutar. "Some of our stuff is very well written, stuff we've really worked out and timed just right. But then we'll go onstage and I'll hump a teddy bear."
Fiendish work Whatever they're doing, the Nugmutter boys refuse, despite having captured some fairly heavy fans -- like Sean Cullen, for whom they've opened, and former Sketchy At Best producer Dave Crawford -- to rest on their laurels.
They were nominated last year for the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award, have had a shot on Elvira Kurt's Adventures In Comedy and were tagged by Gavin Crawford to appear on his new Comedy Network show. They work like fiends. If they can't be together, they write by fax.
"We always do new material, and sometimes we do a set that we have no proof is funny," says Perlmutar. "But doing something completely new is pretty gutsy, and it's something the audience really picks up on."
"I like setting challenges for myself in terms of writing," says Nug. "Like I'll say, 'OK, this sketch has no talking.' And I'll write it with no words. I've also always wanted to write a sketch where we're both girls. I don't know why."
"Yeah, lesbians!" chimes in Perlmutar.
"OK," muses Nug. "We don't need wigs, then."