If my favorite Channel 101 comedy from last year was Intimate Indiscretions, and the series I most admired for its ambition was Aaron Moles “Switcher”, my favorite performer is Mike McCafferty.
He’s got a long history that predates my attendance of Channel 101 shows, but he was the star as well as writer/director of “Honkers”, an incredibly funny and well produced show about a German Benny Hill who hosts a Candid Camera type show about grabbing women’s - well, Honkers.
What could have been a one joke wonder had high production values, and characters you cared about. That’s largely due to Mike, who in addition to his comedic skills always infuses a warmth and vulnerability into his characters.
(I’ll try to post an episode of Honkers, although I don’t want this tumblr to become the Channel 101 fan club when I’ve got my own work to promote.)
Sadly, Honker’s run was cut too short. But Mike bounced back big time with the lower budget but equally as funny “Oh, Shit!”. I’ll let the above short speak for itself, but here’s Mike on making his comeback:
Last year, I poured my heart, soul and valuable time to shoot four episodes of Hönkers. The last shoot took 8 non-consecutive days, and more money and favors than I need to own up to. The result was 6th place. Granted, Aaron Moles’ excellent “Switcher” and Kyle Reiter’s sublime “Gumbel” were the shows that took my place in the top five, but it was a painful lesson to learn. I tried to compete with all these high production value shows that are populating Channel 101’s screenings. I did okay, but ended up having a horrible time. I was angry at myself and anyone else I could find for falling into the over-produced trap. I was proud of what we did, but in the end I felt like we had lost the fun in favor of the flare.
I was angry enough to not even want to shoot another pilot for January. There’s a lot of stuff going on right now…lots and lots of it good, but it takes lots and lots of time. So I vowed to not shoot a show and maybe even skip the screening altogether. Battlefield 3 is my new preoccupation and people don’t judge my shooting of a short, they just shoot me.
But like a country song, I couldn’t quit this dysfunctional relationship. So I called Mike Manasewitsch, who lives 2 streets away and we shot a pilot in 90 minutes around his house and mine. It was a collection of disparate ideas in my head, joined (again) by a ridiculous, accented character. Cowboy hat in kids closet = Mike’s character work. Take that, Stanislavsky!
The result was pure insanity, mixed with terror of approaching tough dudes at a bus stop (never got that $5 back…and that’s okay). The intention was get the show into the screening, get 6-10th place and be rewarded with laughs from the Downtown independent audience and the counter-culture award for being too hip for Primetime. I was into failed pilots before they were cool, yo.
Of course, fate doesn’t like well executed plans. The show got voted back, deposing the Aaron Moles show, just to make thing circular (Take that, Channy winner!). I have been dared by the audience to comeback and make a second episode. My smug, almost hipster-like confidence has been replaced by the emo woe of achieving mainstream. My reaction was the title of my show, and not entirely in the affirmation connotation.
But I’m okay with it. The show came in 5th place, 100 votes from 1st, which is not a mandate from the audience. My new goal will be to shoot for 80 minutes, and be even more random. Audience, you dare me, I dare you back. Let this be a glorious success, or a glorious failure. No shit.
Check Out “Oh, Shit!”
Mike McCafferty and my show “Oh, Shit!” got voted back at Channel 101 this month.