Nelson-based comedian and performer Lucas Myers is known for his one-man stage shows. He writes and produces multi-act plays in which he plays multiple characters.
This Friday, Jan. 23, he is bringing his one-man sketch show the Cromoli Brothers to the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. The conceit is that the one of the brothers doesn’t show up.
I spoke to Myers on the phone last week. Here’s what he had to say:
Who are the Cromoli Brothers?
The Cromoli Brothers are… I use the word vaudeville but I use it sparingly because I don’t know how many people understand what it is. It’s like sketch comedy, and it’s very performance based. Vaudeville was the original sitcom and stand-up comedy back in the 20s, before they had movies and TV. It was extremely popular and it’s basic idea was it had to be entertaining.
I’ve taken that idea and I’ve put it through my own whacky filter. What the show is is it’s 14 or 15 skits and they have titles like Sex, Nude Beach — I’m doing all the racy ones with you first — Dear Mary, I’m in a Gang Now; Pilot Talk, Cover song, Shot in the Dark… Some of them are obvious, some of them are, ‘What’s that one going to be about?’ Heaven’s Gate Webcam is another one
They’re on a poster board on stage and the audience gets to chose the order of the show. I perform one, then I bow. The audience puts up their hands and I ask what they want to see. The show’s always a different order.
I grew up with Kids in the Hall and wacky absurdist comedy. There’s some political stuff in there but its still funny, it’s satirical. There’s also some heartfelt stuff in there, so I like to really mix it up.
Revelstoke Times Review: You’ve been doing The Cromoli Brothers for a few years. Can you talk about how it came to be and how you developed it over the years?
Lucas Myers: It started out as a project I was going to do with someone else. We were writing a grant and we needed a subject. He recommended something vaudevillian because burlesque was coming into the fore. I really enjoy doing something really theatrical, talking to the audience. Almost stand-up comedy with songs.
Then it turned out we didn’t get the grant but I wrote a whole bunch of material for it. I said, ‘I love this material and I’m going to run with it.’ That’s how it started out.
It’s developed in a sense I try and keep stuff current. I try to write skits about things going on right now and there will be some of that in the show right now.
(The interview continues below the video)
Is this a solo show?
It is. There is going to be a guest performer. At every stop I try to have a local performer come up and do one of the skits — whatever they want to do.
Are you playing multiple characters?
Yes. For example, Sex is a conversation between a headache and an orgasm. And there’s tons of music. I say about half the skits are songs or include a song in them. I play ukelele, glockenspiel and melodica in the show. All the instruments you played in grade two.
You do solo shows. Why is that?
Because I live in Nelson and I’ve got a family. And it’s really the easiest thing in terms of time. I’m a mom-dad. My wife is a full-time teacher so in terms of scheduling its way easier for my little brain. I have two hours available, both kids are in school, I can work on a show. In terms of touring, it’s way, way easier if I only have my own schedule to worry about instead of three people we have to get together.
With my company Pilot Co-Pilot Theatre, I have produced a full play in Nelson, and it went great but it was challenging because three other people in the cast had kids. Just trying to get the rehearsal down is challenging. In the future I intend to do more full-length plays but its way, way easier just to be responsible for my own future and fate.
What’s it like writing a bunch of skits with just yourself playing the characters, how do you approach that?
I walk around the room in circles and talk to myself. That’s kind of my process. What I do is I think about things I’m interested in and things I’m curious about and that I think are funny and strange about the world. I try to find an interesting way to present that.
Nude Beach is sock puppets. How can I get through that filter? There’s a nude beach in Nelson and it’s this hilarious milieu. How can I present that without having to take my clothes off and in a way that’s interesting and put another perspective on it? So I’ve got a bunch of sock puppets come out and that makes it fun.
You mentioned music, sock puppets, theatre — what else is there?
There’s a cover song that I’m not going to reveal. People will have to pay money to see the cover song. And there is some social commentary. It’s fun. It’s all through that filter of let’s be entertaining, let’s be fun with this.
I do a couple of shows that are close to stand-up comedy. Its a funny line. I don’t want to sell it as stand-up comedy, because it’s not, but I also want people to know it’s fun and a good time.
I don’t know how you want to sell it in the article, but it has that sensibility in terms of come have a good time, but hopefully there’s some stuff in there to that’s a bit thought provoking.
Lucas Myers presents the Cromoli Brothers at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Friday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Visitor Information Centre, ArtFirst! and through the Revelstoke Arts Council website.