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« Heather Fink in LA! | Main | Birthday Boys/Convoy Interview: Part VI »
Wednesday
Jun102009

Birthday Boys/Convoy Interview: Part VII

We sat down with the improv group Convoy and sketch group The Birthday Boys and had them talk about influences, origins, and sketch vs. improv. We broke that massive interview down into weekly chunks. The following is chunk seven of that series.


That sort of relates to a question I had. Being a comedian, you’re really a performer. Do you want to be actors? And related to that- while you guys are sort of in different places of this as your career, what do you hope will happen in the future?

JEFF/BDB: I was going to ask if you were actors or if you wanted to be in college.

ALEX B/CONVOY: When I was in college I first wanted to be a professor until…

ALEX F/CONVOY: No, first you wanted to be ghostbusters.

ALEX B/CONVOY: This is true. But Vassar has a thing where you can make your own major. And I tried really hard to major in paraphysical research. As it related to ghosts and unexplained shit. I sat down with my pre-major advisor, like before classes started. Like the first week of my freshman orientation he asked me what I wanted to major in and I said “I want to major in paraphysical research, you know like telekinesis and spiritual apparitions”. And there was a long awkard pause and then he looks up and says “there is not a single class at this college that can help you do that”. So I ended up majoring in physics. But I wanted to be a professor for a long time and it wasn’t until like halfway through my junior year that it became clear that I would get sick of writing papers.

ALEX F/CONVOY: A friend of ours sort of convinced us to give it a shot- and we drove out here in the same car, after graduation, cross country…

ALEX F/CONVOY: Speaking for myself, I think I have too much of a controlling instinct to just want to be an actor in someone else’ s sitcom, I don’t think that would be satisfying for me. The whole creation thing, making something that sounds like what I like and is what I like, which is why in this show – we shot a pilot over the summer that was OUR thing, we did work on it with a few people – it was interesting to a. find out A. how that works and B. that was so amazing to do because it was like this is going to be our thing!

DAVE/BDB: And in case people don’t know, we’re not talking about a web show, this was a Comedy Central pilot.

ALEX B/CONVOY: Yeah so the parts of that that were the most fun to do were the parts that we had total control over versus the stuff that comedy central made us do, like their notes and stuff. You guys had talked to them for a while, right? Alex F/Convoy: ter your showcase show.

DAVE/BDB: It’s still in the infant stages but yeah. It’s cool because they seem to embrace new voices, writer/performer voices. And that’s great. So we’ve both done shows at the comedy central stage, which I think they try use as a venue to help build relationships with performers but also to advocate for their own things and get executives to shows.

MIKE M/BDB: How has that opened up doors for you, the pilot?

ALEX F/CONVOY: The whole last year (has been different), because we worked on the pilot with Tom Lennon and Ben Garant (from The State, Viva Variety, Reno 911!, etc.).

TIM/BDB How did that happen?


ALEX F/CONVOY: The writers strike left those two gentleman with very little to do so they started coming to comedy shows, like Cagematch…

ALEX B/CONVOY: The writers strike is the greatest thing that ever happened to us. I’m very sorry for all the catering guys that were unemployed, but it was great for us.

ALEX F/CONVOY: Those guys have been just crazy supportive and awesome and we owe a lot to them. Especially for us as people who watched The State, and Viva Variety…

ALEX B/CONVOY: It’s been some sort of weird perverted childhood dream. I remember when Tom first came to a Convoy show, he came backstage and it was like, holy shit Tom Lennon’s here!

TODD/CONVOY: At first it was like “who is this guy who’s coming back stage?!”

ALEX F/CONVOY: Who is this dude?

ALEX B/CONVOY: Who’s this dude with the frosted hair and the weird moustache?

TODD/CONVOY: And then he left and I was like, (hushed) was that Tom Lennon!? And we actually hadn’t done a great show that night and he came back and thought it was a good show.

ALEX B/CONVOY: We owe the whole Comedy Central thing to those guys, those two guys saw our show and saw some potential in us, and talked us up to their manager and their execs over at cc and so we’ve been lucky to have basically comedic sugar daddies to hold our hands and guide us through the dangerous waters…. And who we’ve become friends with!

TODD/CONVOY: The whole thing was very weird. Ben and Tom started coming to our shows late summer last year, but then all of a sudden: January Comedy Central saw our show and wanted to meet with us, and then we had a meeting at the end of February, we came up with the idea for the show like ten days before we had to pitch them. To have no ideas, then all of a sudden come up with an idea and then ten days later have them say “we want you to make a pilot!”…and then the writing process obviously took a lot longer but it was all really fast. It was like, whuuu, I’ll quit my job now!


Convoy has a weekly show Thursdays at 11p, The Birthday Boys do a show the first Wednesday of every month at 8p. For more info on these groups check out http://www.myspace.com/birthdayboyscomedy and http://www.myspace.com/convoyimprov.

-Joanna Calo

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