PETER N’ CHRIS: The Darwinian Duo | How the award-winning sketch comedians adapted their medium to thrive in the modern comedy landscape

Taylor Erwin Blog, Comedians, Hall of Fame

If there’s one thing new comedians can learn from the 3x Canadian Comedy Award-winning sketch duo Peter N’ Chris, it’s that the fearless continuous exploration of format and medium pays off.

So in anticipation of their upcoming run of A Peter N’ Chris’tmas Carol at Toronto Fringe from July 5-16th, and the news that their short film, Grocery Store Action Movie,  is a finalist in Kevin Hart’s LOL Network at Just For Laughs (VOTE to help them win that Development Deal, baby!), we rhyme off why we believe they’re going to be Canada’s next break-out comedy talents, and then chat with Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson about creativity, improving Dickens, and their award-winning short film Grocery Story Action Movie.

 

Why Peter N’ Chris are primed to be Canada’s next breakout comedians.

As longtime fans of sketch comedy duo Peter N’ Chris, we’ve watched them tenaciously pursue projects that have inspired them creatively while simultaneously challenging them to adapt to an ever-saturating attention marketplace. From their early days performing live short-format shows around Vancouver, to longer comedic plays in local festivals, then expanding to FRINGE and comedy fests across the country (including Just For Laughs and The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, among others), while also creating web comics, video sketches (both short and long form), submitting and writing audio sketches for CBC’s Irrelevant Show, all while growing their online Facebook and Twitter audiences, they’ve continuously had their eyes on the horizon for bigger and better projects.

This pursuit has not only earned them (many) accolades from audiences and the industry alike, but allowed them to develop and hone their comedic skills, style, and work ethic, opening the floodgates for opportunity. Instead of compartmentalizing their works or narrowing their focus on a limiting single aspect of the business (and stubbornly define scope to be hourlong narratives, sketch revues, video sketches, podcast etc.) for which the odds of consistent work and breakout success are slimming (by the day), they instead focused on prolific content generation across all platforms; a strategy that has been paying off.

Peter N’ Chris have since optioned their original webseries “Hardly Men” (which has a great trailer) with Don Ferguson Productions, worked with Crazy8 Films to create “Grocery Store Action Movie“currently in development with LaRue Entertainment, been commissioned to create content for College Humor, written for the webseries White Ninja starring Human Giant‘s Paul Scheer (FX’s The League), all while racking up Best of the Fest live show award in every Fringe city they’ve performed in!

In summary, they’re talented, driven, and prolific creators of high quality content. In the modern comedy landscape, proving that you can generate compelling and original content across all platforms is an undeniable commodity.


The Interview

So your latest FRINGE show, A Peter N’ Chris’tmas Carol, is a “send up of the classic Dickens’ story that delivers the ultimate Christmas highlight reel.” What was missing from the original Dickens story that compelled you guys to create this reinterpretation?

For us, we’re pretty sure Dickens was just missing tons and tons of jokes. Like, there was so many shots on goal that just weren’t taken. Plus, I always thought, “why does Scrooge need three ghosts to convince him. If my dead best friend came back as a ghost to tell me not to be an asshole, I’d listen to him straight off the bat!’ So we started joking around a bit, and we thought, ‘well, although lots of people love christmas, there’s others out there who’ve had something happen to make them not love Christmas…so we wanted to explore that story.” Is that sappy? I don’t know, but that’s what it made us think of, so we wrote it down in this new play!

Your short film, Grocery Store Action Movie , won Best Short at JFL NorthWest has been nominated for a Leo Award, and is now a finalist in a contest to win a development deal with Kevin Hart at Just For Laughs. How did that project come about?

Grocery Store Action Movie came about through a festival called Crazy8 film festival in Vancouver.  We had 8 days to shoot and produce the sketch in time to screen it in front on a live audience…so the heat was on! It’s very well attended night, and miraculously we managed to pull off a pretty ambitions short film that included tons of stunts, elaborate shots, and overall a pretty strenuous shoot schedule.  We’re very proud of it, and happy to see it doing well in the festival circuit, and will be screening in Montreal this summer as part of Just For Laughs.

We’re excited to release it to the public when it eventually find’s its way to CBC Canadian Reflections where anyone can watch it.  Meanwhile, it’ll be screening at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal on the 27th of July, and we’re currently working with LaRue Entertainment to develop it into a series that we intend to pitch around! It’s super exciting and I cant wait for people to see it!

Examples of Peter N’ Chris Short Format Content

Watching you perform, it’s obvious that you guys are having a ton of fun on stage. I think your chemistry and is a big component that feeds the audiences’ energy. How much of your performance is freestyle, and how often are you trying to throw each other off!

Well, our scripts are pretty much never finalized, and we’re continually riffing and improvising new stuff, so making each other try and crack up is always a fun thing to try and do.  But thats always a strange line to ride because if we’re on stage just making each other laugh- and no one else cares, or seems to care- then the vibe somewhat becomes, “okay guys, just say the dumb words you wrote and lets get through this!” That rarely happens, I mean, because we’re pros, right!? SO PROFESSIONAL. 

What’s on the horizon for Peter N’ Chris?

Well, this July and August we’re doing Winnipeg Fringe and Edmonton Fringe where we will do a “Best-of show” in each city. Besides continuing to push and develop the Grocery Store Project, we’re also pitching a reality series in Just For Laughs Comedy Pro this year titled “Peter N Chris Experience…” where we do things on people’s bucket-list and document it for them so they can check it off.  Then, later on this year (and near the actual Christmas season), we’ll remount this play in Victoria and Vancouver.

Thanks Fellas!


Peter N’ Chris’tmas Carol is now playing at the Toronto Fringe.

When: July 5th to July 16th. 7 Performances Only!
Where: Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave. (Bathurst & Dupont)
Tickets: $12 – https://fringetoronto.com/festivals/fringe/event/peter-n-chris-tmas-carol
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/140745993153110/
Online: http://peternchris.com/
Twitter: @PeterNChrisShow