Known for their absurdly irreverent comedies, produced for MTV2 and Cartoon Network’s sister channel Adult Swim, writers/producers/comedians John Lee and Vernon Chatman are showcasing several special video clips, and holding a Q & A during POP Montreal this weekend.
First achieving recognition for their program Wonder Showzen, the duo continued creating daring comedies for Adult Swim. In accordance with some like-minded comedians, they formed a collective called PFFR, which is currently producing the show The Heart, She Holler on the same network.
When I spoke to the odd couple over the phone, they clearly demonstrated a steadfast devotion to their unique comedic style through endless nonsensical asides and fabrications; however sincere the question, every response revealed no perceptible trace of truth. The responses illustrated improvisation comedy at its best, with both speakers building on each others’ lies quickly and effectively, creating scenarios in which the two would lose themselves amid endless embellishment.
They will not disclose the inspiration behind the title PFFR, but Lee does clarify that the second ‘F’ in PFFR is silent “just to be confusing.”
Such creative decisions characterize the offbeat humour of their programs. I asked them to explain how people typically respond to their work—curious to find out if they had rubbed some sensitive viewers the wrong way.
“Going too far?” chuckles Lee indignantly. “We would love for people to get mad at us but it never happens. Anger is still a form of attention. We’re terrible little children looking for attention in the worst ways, but it just doesn’t work.”
PFFR is best described as a comedy production, art collective, and electro-rock band ensemble. Like their comedy shows, the music is quite jarring and arrhythmic. When I began to inquire about their music, Chatman quickly redirected me.
“It is unqualified to be called music in italics. When presented to the music committee they would not accept it as music […] PFFR actually stands for nine hairs shy of music.”
Without gaining any information about their band, I asked more specifically about what to expect at the upcoming POP show.
“You know that feeling of going to a mall after eating an entire box of Lucky Charms?” says Lee. “We’re trying to come as close as possible to recreating that. In fact, you will not be allowed into the show unless you bring proof that you ate a box of Lucky Charms that day.”
They continued to discuss their recent investment in the Lucky Charms stock and ulterior motives to increase its market share for several minutes before I attempted to get them back on track by asking what they specifically will be doing at the show, as performers.
“We will be throwing up at this disgusting display of cereal ingestion,” replies Chatman. “Vomiting out of glee because our stocks are going through the roof. But in all seriousness, the show will mostly be showing clips from Glee—the hidden original episodes from the 70s. That show used to be really [messed] up, really transgressive, you know that real in italics [material].”
Looking for at least a shred of real information about this event, I concluded the interview hoping for them to give a reason why people should come to the show.
“It will be a defining moment of Canada,” offers Chatman. “Or at least, what was known as Canada. After this show, only God knows what it will be called.”
After hearing everything they had to say, I shouldn’t have expected anything less.
PFFR’s showcase and Q&A session takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. It takes place at Film Box (3450 St. Urbain). Tickets are $8.