Getting to Know the Future of Sketch Comedy

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The San Francisco Foghorn sat down with Whitest Kids U’Know frontman Trevor Moore and Playmate of the Year 2007 Sara Jean Underwood to discuss their new romantic comedy “Miss March,” Moore’s sketch comedy career, Playboy and more.

San Francisco Foghorn: What is your favorite character you have ever played?
Trevor Moore: My favorite character I’ve ever played was actually two characters and they are in the same sketch. There’s Tanzick, which is a Sherpa, but he’s kind of like a gay raver club kid Sherpa, and then I played the Devil, but the Devil was just kind of this rambling southern guy…

SFF: What was the dynamic like on set?
Sara Jean Underwood: It was fun; I’m not really an actress and he’s just really funny. Like I don’t know if you noticed when we were shooting our scene together, but you were saying your lines and I felt so bad because when they were shooting his face and my back was to the camera I was cracking up a lot. And I was like “Oh my gosh I feel so bad, like he’s trying to be all serious and I’m just laughing at him the whole time…”
TM: It was great, I mean honestly it’s always interesting when you’re gonna work with someone that you’ve never met. I mean, for the rest of the parts we auditioned people and everything, but with Sara we just saw some tape, so we had never met her ‘til the day before. We didn’t know how it was gonna go, but, you know, Sara was awesome and right off the bat there was very little direction that we had to give, and she was just a natural at it.

SFF: Would you ever pursue acting?
SJU: I don’t know, but I had a lot of fun! Like I said, I haven’t done a lot of acting before; I mostly do a lot of hosting-type stuff, but it’s a lot of fun … I mean I never really thought I had a knack for it or anything, but I enjoyed it … but maybe I enjoyed it because I was working with really great people too! It was a fun movie to do.

SFF: What’s it like to live at the Playboy mansion?
SJU: Oh it’s awesome, are you kidding? I didn’t live at the mansion. I lived across the street, but I mean you have chefs on 24/7, maids, pools, tanning beds, you know, beautiful girls all around you, which doesn’t really affect me but it’s great because they’re all my best friends so it’s great to have girls around me all the time. And the grounds are beautiful. There’s all kinds of animals and the landscaping is insane – we have trees and plants from all around the world … It’s incredible.
TM: And they have monkeys too!
SJU: Yeah, the monkeys are great. There’s like three different breeds of monkeys there.

SFF: So, when you first started sketch comedy, did you ever see shooting a movie with Hugh Hefner in your future?
TM: No, you know when we started the troupe our goal was to do it for a few years, get a good reel together, and then just make a hard sell and try to get a TV show. I don’t think we realized how slim the odds of that working were, but maybe that was for the better because we worked on it every week. We would do our day jobs Monday through Friday, but we’d spend all weekend writing and shooting sketches and then doing our live show every week. We started putting stuff online right around the beginning of YouTube, so there wasn’t a huge amount of sketch comedy online at that time, and we were kind of just right there at the right time to fill that void. There are so many sketch comedy groups online now, but the fact that there weren’t at the time really helped us to get it around … and then we got into the festival and we won that … But even then, no, shooting a movie at the Playboy mansion … we had never plotted that one out.

SFF: How do you guys come up with your skits?
TM: There’s different ways we do it. Sometimes it will just be like you’re driving around or something and you suddenly think of a skit so you bring all those to the meeting and everyone votes on whether it’s funny. But then other times we have to have like a hundred-something sketches by next month. So we’ll take some time and everyone will come up with ideas for sketches and we’ll just go around in a circle and pitch them out, and whichever ones make everyone laugh are the ones we write up. That’s how most of the ideas for our TV show are made.

SFF: Are the five of you the only writers of the show?
TM: Yeah, we are. We kind of wanted to do that, just because not a lot of shows do that anymore. And, you know, Monty Python has always been a big inspiration of ours and that’s how they did it, so from the beginning that has been our thing. It’s like, the show doesn’t have writers on it, just the group of people that you’re seeing on television coming up with this stuff, and for better or for worse, it’s all us. There’s not any other influence.

SFF: What were some of your first sketches like?
TM: Sam and Zach and I all worked at this Asian television network, and we would shoot stuff at like 5 o’clock when everyone was leaving in our office secretly … I always wonder now that some of those sketches are on the TV show if any of those people we worked with ever watch and say, “Hey! That’s my office!”

SFF: What are your guys’ plans for the future?
TM: We want to do a lot more touring, you know, set aside maybe two months of the year and just tour the country. As far as Zach and I directing, we really want to do this Whitest Kids movie that we have been working on for a while now, and that’s what we want to do next. It would be great to hang out in Hollywood for another year.

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