Barry Award winning duo,The Pajama Men are back in town for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with their unique brand of physical comedy. They spoke to Australian Stage's Lee Bemrose.
Where are you right now and what were you doing before sitting down to answer these questions?
Mark – We are both in Albuquerque NM. Shenoah and I rented a house here for a couple of weeks while we finish writing the show. I think Shenoah is with his parents right now. I was just visiting mine. I just took a shower and am getting ready to go to bed. Before that we were writing the show.
Who is answering the questions – both of each of you or one of both of you?
Shenoah – Dunno, but we look good together don’t I?
Do you enjoy answering questions about you? Do you both feel the same way?
M – I’m doing the odd questions and Shenoah’s doing the evens. It’s the super clever way we’ve come up with to evenly divide the work. I don’t know why we feel the need to take turns answering these questions as we feel exactly the same about everything always. And we never argue.
In researching you I tried for quite a long time to find some reviews of your show Just the Two of Each of Us, and just between you and me, it's not looking good. I mean, reviews of your other shows practically wet themselves, but for this one there's just a tumbleweedy silence out there in Reviewland. Why are the critics keeping so tight lipped about this show?
S – This show’s so new it’s still in the packaging. We’ve kept all the receipts, as we may need to return some ideas and exchange them for better ones.
It's a world premiere? Oh. That could explain it. Why have you chosen Melbourne to premiere the show? Surely there are cooler places to have a world premier, no?
M – Wow. I feel like I could say exactly the wrong thing here if I wasn’t careful. Lets see: because we love Melbourne! That’s why.
What kinds of things do you think the critics will be saying once they've seen the show?
S – It’s been three days and I’m still coming… to grips with how bad that was.
In fact what is the absolute best reviewer quote you can imagine anyone writing about Just the Two of Each of Us? (And would it be all right if I use it in my review?).
M – “This show was so great I will personally buy anybody a ticket who wants to go” Yes, you can use that in your review.
What can you tell us about the show?
S – It’s really fast paced and ridiculous. There’s a bit more narrative than we’ve done in the past, but it’s still really joke heavy. I think you’ll like it, at least I hope you will. Also, it doesn’t match the program description.
I understand there's a plot, of sorts. Does this mean improv doesn't feature as largely as it does in some of your shows?
M – There will be lots of room to improvise, especially because the show’s so new we’ll probably forget most of it.
Improvisation plays a large part of what you do on stage – how large a part does it play in your daily life?
S – A huge part. Ladies? Who’s lookin’ for a man who likes wingin’ it?
Have you ever done a character head count? Do you have any idea how many characters you have stored away to draw on during your shows?
M – Not really. Its funny how many characters we play that don’t make it into the show. I think a lot of them are too niche.
I notice the term 'physical humour' in the blurb about Just the Two of Each of Us, yet your humour strikes me as being so much more than just physical, although the physicality of it is certainly undeniable. Who of the old school physical comedians have had an impact on you?
S – Thanks, and yeah, words like physical humour are dangerous. I’m sure to some ears they translate as; this show will be lame stay away. Of the old school, I love Buster Keaton.
And comedians less likely to be described as physical comedians?
M – Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Christopher Guest, John Candy, Steven Wright.
If you could be a cartoon character, who would it be and why?
S – Bugs Bunny because he’s so charming and clever, but I think I’m more like Daffy Duck or Wile E. Coyote, who keep on trying with incorrect belief that they’ll succeed.
What do you wear to bed?
M – I’m going to bed when I finish this interview, and right now I’m wearing pajama bottoms and a t-shirt.Typing that felt almost…lewd.
Have you got your Melbourne Comedy Festival guide yet? Picked out any acts you want to see?
S – Sam Simmons, Max and Ivan, David Quirk, many others. Go see everything!!!
What else do you intend to do whilst in Melbourne?
M – Drink tons of coffee. I love the coffee in Melbourne.
We should all come along to see Just the Two of Each of Us because...
S – We made it for you and we promise not to suck most nights.
Just the Two of Each of Us by the Pajama Men plays April 4 – 21 at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Further details»
Also for five nights at The Seymour Centre in Sydney from Wednesday April 24.