Thursday, 26 January 2012

Pyjamas, but never nighties...

For Impact, out university magazine, I recently did an interview with U.S. comedy duo The Pyjama Men which I thought I'd share...

*The highest selling act to ever play at The Soho Theatre in London, a 2010 sell-out run in London and a TV project in development…it’s no secret that comedy duo The Pyjama Men, a.k.a Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez from Albuquerque, New Mexico, are in hot demand. So I was extremely lucky to bag an interview with them…

Did you find it easy  breaking onto the comedy circuit?
The main thing is to just keep showing up and doing your comedy wherever you can. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but if you do the effin’ work, something will come of it. Some people make glass eyes and get super into the glass eye business. We didn’t go that route, but we work just as hard as those glass eye barons and it’s going well.

What was the motivating push that convinced you to do it?
We gave up everything else to do this and when doing something ridiculous is all you got, you really
 want it to work out.

Where do you get show ideas and influences from?
There were plenty of comedy films we liked growing up, like Airplane, Top Secret, Naked Gun… But in a way we were lucky because we grew up in the small desert city of Albuquerque in New Mexico. There was no scene, no one to set an example and so we just did what we thought was funny or interesting and because of that we were able to make our own style…for better or worse!

You’ve toured America, Canada, the Edinburgh Fringe…how do you choose your destinations?
We go where the work is I guess. In the same way zombies go where the brains are. Doing Edinburgh afforded us a lot of opportunities to do things internationally (and to get drunk). It can all be traced back there, really.

Do you adapt your shows a lot to suit the different audiences in different countries and do you find that reactions and reception differ greatly from country to country?
No, because we’re not topical. Our stuff is more about characters and how weird humans are – picking up on idiosyncrasies or exploring relationships. We look for ways to tie our bits together through strange narratives, but it’s not specific to any one place or country.

Who is the best audience and who is your ideal audience?
Jee…I guess the best audiences are the un-jaded ones; being too cool to laugh is the saddest thing that can happen to a person.

How long does it typically take you to write a show?
We work for about six weeks before we open a show that is just a sort of skeleton and then we improvise within the structure in front of an audience. So it’s hard to say because a lot of the writing happens on stage and we keep that process going until we close the show.

Do you have someone to edit or help write your material?
No, it’s just us. We’re a small operation.

Which one of you is funnier…and why?
I’m funnier because I have a secret weapon – Mark writes my jokes.

Any tips for aspiring comedians?
Do your own thing. Trying to fit into a mould gets you nowhere. Take it from us. Ever heard of us? No? Okay well, do what ever you think will work.

Oh and have you ever performed in nighties?
No, you idiot, we’re the Pajama Men.

On that note…thanks guys!

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