by Matt Paley
For the past couple months, I’ve been working with a few of the funniest people I know (including company writer Peter Warren) on A Show About Us, a filmed sketch comedy show in the vein of Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, and The State. The show is about three 20-somethings – Sasha, the L.A. transplant; Ken, the alpha male Celtics-fanatic; Christian, the sardonic prep-school kid – living together in Somerville, MA. Although the show is broad in scope (the actors also play the characters on their TV, for instance, as in the promo below), many of the sketches focus on their efforts to figure out Boston and for Boston, too, to figure them out.
The above summary makes it sound like the show is all dropped ‘r’s and references to Lansdowne street. Writing and speaking a lot about the show the past couple of days, I’ve felt the need to clarify my position on living and working in Boston. Even as Boston has become a more popular place to film, its pop-culture identity hasn’t matured. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with The Fighter, The Town, or The Social Network; it’s just that they all present Boston as one of the two popular cliches: a tough Irish neighborhood, or Harvard. A Show About Us – and every project I undertake — looks to poke and prod at these stereotypes. I (and I know I speak for the five Saint Eliot members that grew up in Boston) am very proud to be a Bostonian. Part of the impetus for Saint Eliot’s creation was the shared dream of living and working here; even as we disperse (Jake is off to New Orleans!), we constantly talk about a shared future in Boston, with a new wave of young artists committed to expressing our peculiar point of view. We believe that by telling the stories that matter to us — or, in this case, expressing what we find to be funny — we’ll add to a cultural conversation we’re hoping to grow here. That doesn’t always mean writing about Boston. It means writing from Boston.
It was my unexpected thrill yesterday to be invited to share this view on WBUR 90.9, Boston’s NPR news station. You can listen to my interview with Ken Breese (who writes for and stars in A Show About Us) and host Sacha Pfeiffer here.
A Show About Us has called Improv Boston home for the past few months; we’re delighted to finish our run with a big Holiday Extravaganza! finale at The Brattle Theater tomorrow night. (what’s that you say? you’ll be in the area tomorrow? well, come on by!) Shortly after, we’ll be launching a new home for our sketches online.
I’m new to directing comedy, and not that funny myself, so the creation of this show represented a huge step into the unknown for me. I want to take this chance to thank the absolutely wonderful Sasha Winters, Ken Breese, Christian Kiley, and Casey Regan (the show is about them), as well as Mike Salomon and Peter Warren, our incomparable wordsmiths, for making this initially horrifying prospect a truly joyful experience.
Below I’ve included our promo for the Brattle show. Enjoy!