Coming to Melbourne from Brisbane via Chicago, Chris Martin and Taylor Edwards are ready to crack jokes and catch bad guys in their new show, Undercover Festival Cops. The duo met in Brisbane and trained together at the IO Theatre in Chicago, and will be bringing their sketch magic to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival soon.
How do you find time to create shows that gain lots of attention (as well as travel) whilst running a theatre?
It’s hard! This year has been really busy as we’ve been working on this show while the theatre is expanding. But luckily we’re not the only ones who run Big Fork Theatre and we’re very fortunate to work with other talented, hilarious and hardworking people who are totally ok with us disappearing every so often.
You worked with the Sexy Detectives previously – do you intend to do more collaborative work in the future? And what was it like working with more people?
We do collaborative work pretty frequently. With Big Fork Theatre we write and perform a whole new experimental sketch show every month (called Get It Inya) which keeps us on our toes. Coming from an improv background we are no strangers to working in a team. Working with The Sexy Detectives has been good too as they have a very different approach to sketch comedy and it’s good to challenge ourselves.
What was the inspiration for the show Undercover Festival Cops and BangNation more generally? Was it something that came from watching one too many cop films, or was it a direct mission request from the Boys in Blue?
We were flyering outside Melbourne Town Hall last year for our first MICF and Chris thought it would be so much easier doing it as a cop, because who would say no to a cop? You could just arrest them for disobeying! That’s where the show was born.
What, if any, difference does the location of the performance in preparing for your show? Has Melbourne influenced the preparations at all?
We’ve got a few local references and its set in Melbourne during the Comedy Festival. We have one sketch in particular about finding a bar in Melbourne. The Melbourne audience loves being made fun of and the Brisbane crowds love sticking it to our southern friends so it travels well! If you can’t laugh at yourself what can you laugh at?
Moreover, are there differences in audiences that are unique to different locations that impact on the show?
The audiences are different for sure! We saw that on last year’s tour to Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Melbourne crowd seems to love shows with an overarching theme or message. Adelaide crowds were super keen and definitely not prudish. Brisbane crowds are great in that once you get them out of the house they will give anything a go.
Your two promotion videos are very mysterious. Did you find anyone who could use video editing equipment? And what is the relation between these and the show (if any)?
Ah I see you have found our videos from last year’s show! When we were slapping together a promo video we didn’t really know what we were doing. We didn’t have a movie-making program so Chris downloaded the first one that came up in Google. When he uploaded our footage the program automatically spat that abomination out! For this year we got our friend Michael Griffin, an actual video editor, to help us so it came out a lot better. Our first nightmare will always have a special place in our hearts…
This year’s promo video:
You mention that this will be one of your most ambitious shows to date. What makes it so ambitious compared to previous work?
This is the first time we’ve written a show with a proper narrative so it’s been a challenge to tell the story without letting our antics get too bedded down in plot. I think we’ve struck a good balance for the high energy show we want. It’s also become a bit more spectacular – more music cues, more voice overs, more characters and some unusual handmade props. And we’re also satirising the comedy world too, so everything feels a lot closer to home.
Is it better to die in a shootout with scum buckets, or die on stage, in your experience?
We haven’t been fatally wounded so far! Maybe it is better to die on stage because then we’d die doing what we love and we wouldn’t actually die. Our characters in the show though would probably think differently.
Have you tried performing this show for police officers? Or drug dealers for that matter?
Not yet but we’re really hoping some come along! To watch the show and have a good time I mean, not in an official capacity or anything.
Chris Martin and Taylor Edwards are Undercover Festival Cops at MICF 10th-13th and 18th-22nd April. Tickets start at $13.30. Head to the MICF website for more information and to get tickets.