OnPoint by Keith Ng


Rock opera, with lasers, in Wellington tonight

Musical comedy duo Mrs Peacock, featuring Jarrod Baker (also of Newtown Ghetto Anger) and Dave Smith will be featuring at the Comedy Festival, performing their brand new rock opera show – Six Feet from the Edge. It's is going to be performed for the first time ever tonight, and it will have “giant lasers”. Friggin' lasers!

This is the teaser for an interview I did with them yesterday. It's a teaser mostly because I've been a slack bastard and hadn't got around to editing it until this afternoon, and their first show is on tonight, at 8pm at BATS Theatre in Wellington. Will post the rest – an enlightening discussion on the nature of offensive jokes and other things – soon; Friday, if I can get my day-job stuff done without passing out from caffine overdose.

(Mrs Peacock were the 2007 winner of the Billy T James Award, and also worthy recipients of the NZ Comedy Guild's Most Offensive Gag award in 2005, and the identical award at the Wellington Comedy Awards in 2006.)

KN: So what's a rock opera?
DS: The Who did rock operas, where it was just a story through music.

KN: Like The Wall or something?
DS: Yeah, like The Wall, but we’ve taken the Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical side. It’s a story, like Evita I guess.
JB: So it’s a musical, but less...

KN: Gay?
JB: Yeah.
DS: I think gay is the word.
JB: We’ll say camp.

KN: So is it going to be offensive?
DS: There will be moments, but all in all it's a nice story. It's gentle, it's fun.
JB: And relatively tame. It’s not going to lack for swearing, but it’s probably not going to have quite the same content [as Mrs Peacock's old acts], because we are trying to sell our story over the last 12 months. And that was actually a relatively tame story.

KN: Why does the story of your lives include lasers?
JB: We’ve believed for a long time our stage show needs to be a lot more spectacular. Comedy clubs, they can’t contain the rock that we have.
DS: Yeah we’ve wanted lasers, flashy lights for a long time.
JB: And it gives us the rock element of it. Yeah, but also we went to see We Will Rock You, and that was a big production.

KN: That had lasers?
DS: Lasers. Definitely lasers. With lots of smoke.
JB: We don't quite have their budget.
DS: No.
JB: But I do have contacts to get me a free laser, so...

KN: So it’s just one laser?
JB: We’re not sure what we’re getting yet. We’re hoping it will be one of the ones that fires it through a prism and does exciting things. But, you know, it could be a laser pointer on a string.
DS: That’s alright, a cat playing with a laser pointer is fine too.

KN: As long as there is laser in it?
DS: Well there is laser, yeah, there’s definitely going to be laser.
JB: We wouldn't want to be accused of false advertising. There will be a laser.
DS: If we have to put laser pointers on an oscillating fan on the side of the stage, we’ll do that.
JB: I don't think it will come to that.
DS: No, I don't think so.

KN: So you reckon lasers are going to give you a leg up over Flight of the Concords, I mean they don't have any lasers?
DS: They don't have lasers. But they do have a guitar from the future which is a little unfair.

KN: But that doesn’t have lasers does it?
JB: We’ll see, when we get a TV show, we’ll talk about who’s got a leg up. Certainly, we’re aiming for something quite different. More like a play, or a musical.

KN: So it’s kind of theatrical?
DS: Yes very theatrical. We both started out as actors, you know.

KN: Really?
DS: That’s what we studied as and then found out that I don't like actors very much.

KN: What’s wrong with actors?
DS: I don't know, they’re weird. They’re a different kind of insecure to comedians. Comedians have their own special kind of insecure, and self esteem issues. It’s hard to explain the difference. But there are different issues between comedians and actors.

KN: Do musical comedians fit into a third category?
DS: Yes, definitely.

KN: Do musical theatrical comedians fit into a fourth category?
JB: Possibly, I think, it’s a bit all over the place. Bret's a dancer.
DS: Oh really, I did not know that.
JB: His mum’s a dance teacher.

KN: Who's mum?
JB: Bret's mum.

KN: Oh.
JB: So we don't have that to offer.
DS: No, I did do two years of dance, jazz, ballet, but it’s probably not appropriate for a rock.
JB: There will be some slow motion drum and base dancing. We’re covering a broad musical spectrum this time.

KN: So is The Flange your most offensive song?
DS: Oh no, nowhere near.

KN: What would be your most offensive song, on an objective scientific basis?
DS: From a scientific basis I would say it has to be one that we don't play often. It’s called Phantom of the Days of our Lives. We won the most offensive gag in 2005 with Walking the Line, which is a very offensive song.
JB: So let's write one that’s worse...
DS: And we did, we put our entire filthy efforts into it and came out with a horrible, horrible song.
JB: That year, we didn’t even get nominated. I think the one that won that year was a joke involving the Kahui Twins.

KN: Domestic violence trumps sexual innuendo?
DS: That actually does offend me, physical violence towards anyone. Just talking about someone crapping on someone’s chest doesn’t bother me.
JB: If you talked about bum sex, is that really offensive? Unlike say... I don't know, genocide?

KN: Are you guys secretly not offensive?
JB: Well I have a theory to that. Because most of it is more silly, and making fun of ourselves rather than, say, advocating bizarre sexual practices.
DS: Having said that there are people out there doing it, so they should have music too, you know? We’ve just found a song that we wrote that insinuates horse intercourse, which is fine. People do it, I've seen it on the internet. It must happen.
JB: It's still legal in some states in the US, so...

KN: Not in New Zealand though.
JB: But travel is good, the global horse sex tourism trade...

KN: New Zealand has some good horses and we export them all over the world.
DS: Yeah, beautiful horses...
(More later...)

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