Crime and Kids = Comedy
ColdTowne Presents: After School Special Victims Unit, sketch comedy bringingkids shows and crime drama together at last
One reason why we love watching comedy is that it makes unexpected connections. (Three men AND a baby? Comic gold!) ColdTowne Theatre’s newest Mainstage sketch show, After School Special Victims Unit, follows this tradition by presenting a darker take on classic kid’s show conventions.
Running every Friday and Saturday in September at 8:30 pm, the show's centered around a fictional children’s program called Tootie’s Toolbox, a slightly twisted show for kids whose features include “a PSA about what to do when you meet a stranger and a lesson about how to brush your teeth, all done with some sock puppets and some live action.”
“The title is more thematic than it is literal; we have this after school special and there’s strangers in it, some scary things,” explains ColdTowne’s Michael Jastroch.
Between the inane songs, misguided outfits and stilted slang that after-school specials tend to rely on, there’s plenty to parody.
“One of my favorite shows is Strangers With Candy,” says Jastroch. “You’re juxtaposing these two extremes, the bright, frenetic enthusiasm and ADD kind of art direction of a children’s show, then putting any kind of grown-up concept in there, and in that context it almost automatically makes it funny. It doesn’t even have to be too disturbing, it just works.”
A look at every lesson learned on Strangers With Candy:
The Very Special Episode is a tried-and-true comedy goldmine, with scores of shows (from Powerpuff Girls to The Drew Carey Show) presenting their own tongue-in-cheek take. And, of course, the unintentional hilarity of the original 80’s-era crop of PSAs never fades (check out the best of them here).
Crime-centric shows, too, are just begging for a little creative re-imagining; take Adult Swim’s latest hit, Paul Scheer and Rob Riggle’s NTSF:SD:SUV(short for “National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle”).
Funny or Die’s actually got a full page dedicated to cop parody clips. One of our favorites? Sara Schaefer’s recent short, “The Taper,” which follows the drama in the daily life of one of the more overlooked crime scene officials.
With so many genres and elements rife for smart (and, usually, also silly) parody, we're looking forward to this Very Special Episode from the comedy pros at ColdTowne.