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During 2015, Improv Conspiracy member Mike Brown is going to have a chat to every single member of the Conspiracy - about life, about improv, and everything in between. This is: You're Going To Meet Some People.
Today is a special edition with sketch trio Trillcumber. Trillcumber are made up of three members who all met at the Improv Conspiracy – Mario Hannah, Hayley Tantau, and Simon McCulloch. Their show Is This Intimacy? is on through Saturday at Fitzroy bar The Catfish at 8pm.
Mike Brown: We all good?
[Mario checks the Zoom audio recorder that he has set up]
Mario Hannah: I've only got 25 hours left, so keep travelling.
Hayley Tantau: I can't talk about my drug addiction.
Will you give me the recording of this?
Mario Hannah: That’s the idea. [laughs]
Ok, I thought you were just doing this to show off?
Mario Hannah: Nah. I just want to, I'm just wondering, cause you know, a Zoom is a good investment, so if I can help you… I like to help.
I appreciate it.
Hayley Tantau: [laughs] Just let Mario help you! Just let someone in!
Simon McCulloch: A Zoom’s a good investment so if I can help you. It’s like you’re offering me one.
Are you giving me the Zoom?
Mario Hannah: I'm a Zoom salesman.
This company is just a front for you to sell Zooms.
Mario Hannah: It’s all an elaborate plot to sell a single Zoom.
Hayley Tantau: This sketch group was all… oh nooooo!
Simon McCulloch: It’s all an umbrella corp.
Hayley Tantau: This is why every time we meet for coffee you try to sell me Zooms!
Mario Hannah: Shall we start? [laughs]
So I'm always curious about origin stories – how did the three of you come together to start Trillcumber?
Mario Hannah: I think it was just a Facebook conversation.
So the three of you were friends?
Hayley Tantau: Any time we were at a party, it would always be like us three in the corner talking about, I don't know, doing bits and stuff.
Simon McCulloch: Like creeps in the corner.
Hayley Tantau: Yeah, total creeps, and then eventually we just started messaging on Facebook which just made for more bits. And now we’re doing a Comedy Fest show, that’s that.
Mario Hannah: So we did improv together.
Simon McCulloch: Still do.
Mario Hannah: Yeah we still do. But we were all in separate teams, and we bonded over a Improv Conspiracy Christmas party one time, we were coming up with spin-off ideas for Neighbours one time.
Do you remember any of them?
Mario Hannah: They pretty much just involved just taking Harold and putting him into different scenarios. One idea was to mash-up different characters into their own spin-offs. Like what would a show look like with Harold and The Fonz, just like as roommates.
[laughs] Sounds a little bit like fan fiction-y Mario. It sounds like you’re writing fan fiction.
Simon McCulloch: It’s written fan fiction, past tense. There’s diaries full of it.
Mario Hannah: What is a spin-off but someone’s fan fiction that went too far?
I suppose yeah, someone’s fan fiction with funding. If we really thought about that we might not have had Joey.
Mario Hannah: Yeah! And the world wouldn't have had to experience Joey.
Simon McCulloch: Or Frasier.
Well, Frasier’s good.
Mario Hannah: But Joey..
Are you all big Joey fans in Trillcumber?
Simon McCulloch: I've never seen it. Sorry.
If Trillcumber could go on a holiday with any two people – real or fictional, who do you pick and where do you go as a group?
Simon McCulloch: Are we taking Shaun Micallef?
Mario Hannah: Wait so only two people?
Only two people, and you have to pick as a group. Both the people and location.
Simon McCulloch: How long are we going for?
As long as you want it to be.
Simon McCulloch: A tight four days?
Sure, why not.
Simon McCulloch: Yeah.
Mario Hannah: A tight four. We really need to think about this.
Hayley Tantau: Way to throw us a curveball!
Simon McCulloch: So here’s the thing. If you take your idols and they suck, it’s ruined yeah!
Hayley Tantau: Yeah.
Mario Hannah: Who’s guaranteed not to disappoint us?
Simon McCulloch: Well not my dad for one.
Hayley Tantau: Everything’s disappointing. [laughs]
Mario Hannah: Can you cut the long pause from the interview?
Hayley Tantau: There’s just going to be space, you're just going to have to keep scrolling through space.
Simon McCulloch: I want it in. So people know we're serious about how much thought we're putting into things.
Hayley Tantau: This is really hard. [pause] Who do we like?
Mario Hannah: How about Seth Meyers ‘cause you know he’s going to be a nice guy, he’s got.. he’s good.
Simon McCulloch: He’s amiable, he’s kind of like filler-
Hayley Tantau: Bill Hader! How amazing would he be?
Simon McCulloch: Hades, yeah I get that. [John] Mulaney.
Hayley Tantau: Oh my god yes. Oh Louie! [C.K.] No Louie would be dark.
Simon McCulloch: Yeah Louie, oh, yeah.
Hayley Tantau: He'd get over it.
Simon McCulloch: But also he'd be like “I miss my kids”
Mario Hannah: Yeah, he'd be upset that we dragged him away from his kids.
Hayley Tantau: Oh! Ilana Glazer. I’d be trapped on an island with her.
Mario Hannah: Probably Amy Poehler maybe?
Hayley Tantau: Hannibal Buress. Can we have 18 people?
Simon McCulloch: Here’s the thing. Can we get a bus?
Hayley Tantau: Can we get the Vengabus?
Sure you can get the bus, but still only two people, still one location.
Hayley Tantau: I need the space.
Simon McCulloch: That’s a compromise.
Mario Hannah: Should we give ourselves one female and one male?
Hayley Tantau: Yeah. Ilana Glazer or Amy Poehler.
Mario Hannah: Alright. I would vote for Amy Poehler.
Simon McCulloch: Yeah cause look I’d like to learn a bit from wisdom and I'm the same age as Glazer.
Hayley Tantau: She’d teach me to be a better woman, so yeah.
Simon McCulloch: Alright so A-Poehl.
Hayley Tantau: A-Poehl.
Mario Hannah: And for the.. for the guy.
Hayley Tantau: Hannibal Buress?
Mario Hannah: Hannibal Buress is too unpredictable.
Mario Hannah: I’d go with Seth Myers.
Simon McCulloch: [laughs] I was going to say Bill Cosby.
Mario Hannah: Cut that out of the interview.
Hayley Tantau: Topical! So topical.
Simon McCulloch: Myers is nice but he’s a little vanilla. Like..
Mario Hannah: He’s a known quantity.
Hayley Tantau: And like him and Poehler are adorable together.
He’s no Colin Jost.
Hayley Tantau: Zing.
Mario Hannah: Whose another guy…
Hayley Tantau: Kyle Mooney. That would be cute. Milli Vanilli, both of them.
What the real singers of Milli Vanilli or the dancing singers?
Mario Hannah: They count as one person.
How does that work – there’s four people all together right?
Mario Hannah: Well behind the scenes there’s four people. And two front people. So that’s six. Really.
Look if I can get all of Milli Vanilli, all six people, that’s a party. I’d take that package deal.
Simon McCulloch: Alright you’re speaking for yourself now. [laughs] I don’t want the Mario and Milli Vanilli party.
Hayley Tantau: I’d go to that party.
Simon McCulloch: Why are you going to that party?
Hayley Tantau: Because I get to choose what I do Simon!
Simon McCulloch: Alright! I’m trying to give you some advice that Mario added the front and the back of Milli Vanilli, that’s not going to be a good time.
Do you ever think that they wore those pantomime horse costumes? Where the singers are in the back and the dancers-
Simon McCulloch: Did you say pantomime horse suits?
Yeah that’s what they are.
Simon McCulloch: So the back end of the horse is doing the singing and the front end of the horse is doing the miming?
Simon McCulloch: … that’s a good concept.
Hayley Tantau: We still haven't settled on a guy.
Simon McCulloch: How about Amy Poehler and Mike Brown?
Hayley Tantau: [squeals]
MT: Good answer. I’m happy with that.
Hayley Tantau: I'm happy with that.
Simon McCulloch: Tight.
And where are you going? Where are we going? I'm part of this now.
Mario Hannah: Where do you want to go Mike?
Oh it’s not about me.
Simon McCulloch: What are you feelin’?
Hayley Tantau: We’re feelin’ each other.
[Trillcumber start stretching]
Mario Hannah: Can you write in the article that we're doing our stretches?
Mario Hannah: Well you've said it now and it will be in.
Simon McCulloch: You know what I want to do? I read an article about George Orwell’s-
Hayley Tantau: Always read.
Simon McCulloch: - house, you have to take two ferries to get there, because it’s on an island.
Mario Hannah: Wait whose house?
Simon McCulloch: George Orwell’s. Where he wrote 1984. Super isolated, it looks really nice. I’d go write a book, I wouldn't, I'd just procrastinate.
Mario Hannah: Sweet 1984, Animal Farm.
Hayley Tantau: Yeahhhhhh.
Mario Hannah: What money will get you.
Simon McCulloch: Walking those pigs, walking around smoking cigars like they’re people.
Mario Hannah: Fancy.
Hayley Tantau: So fancy.
Simon McCulloch: Fancy pig hats.
Where are we going!?
Mario Hannah: I would go to a tropical island.
Hayley Tantau: Yeah. Like one of those ones, one of those rich people ones that exist for just like..
Hayley Tantau: Tax purposes.
Mario Hannah: Yeah we'll just get Amy Poehler to take us to the secret island. The one that’s hidden.
Hayley Tantau: She'd know.
Like one of those Richard Branson private islands?
Mario Hannah: Yeah!
Hayley Tantau: Yeah.
She'd have contacts. She'd have Branson’s number on lock.
Mario Hannah: You know on The Simpsons when Ron Howard talks about the special zoo that only rich people talk about? It has the fantastpoplos.
Simon McCulloch: This whole interview is just long pause. Long pause.
So, what kind of stuff has influenced this sketch? Is it other sketch? Is it stuff from your lives? Something else entirely?
Simon McCulloch: Social ineptitude I think, is the common thread. That’s what I'm bringing to the party at least.
Can you elaborate?
Simon McCulloch: Uhhhhh… [laughs]. No, that’s it.
You have to see the show to see what that means?
Simon McCulloch: Oh yeah I'll elaborate in the sketches.
Mario Hannah: You just don't give him anything.
What are you adding?
Mario Hannah: Are you talking about influences as in our heroes?
Mario Hannah: Or life experiences?
What influences you to write? Surely it’s not just other sketch comedy.
Mario Hannah: It kinda is, just a lot of sketch comedy. Saturday Night Live, Shaun Micallef, and maybe Mitchell & Webb, and Armstrong & Miller, people like that.
Simon McCulloch: Heavily Mr. Show.
Hayley Tantau: We watched a lot of Mr. Show.
Simon McCulloch: You can never watch too much Mr. Show.
I totally agree with that.
Hayley Tantau: I'm also in love with [Inside] Amy Schumer. So a lot of my stuff is inspired by her. She’s just got a really good way of just picking something true and mining that. She doesn't have to come up with a lot of stuff, she just drills into one little thing.
Alright let’s move on. The three of you improvise together-
Mario Hannah: Ok that’s enough Hayley.
[all laugh hard].
Mario Hannah: What was the question?
Keeping it snappy here. The three of you improvised together at Melbourne Fringe. Has improvisation influenced how you write and perform together?
Mario Hannah: Yeah definitely. I think yeah, we started out trying to write in a really kind of corny way, of "this is a funny thing, what if there was a guy who did this?" ... and that would be all there was to the sketch. Until we realised that the whole point of having improv knowledge is knowing how to create characters and you know workshop ideas and develop them and flesh them out and yeah so, I think it’s been a really big part of the whole creative process for this.
Simon McCulloch: Yeah it’s certainly fleshed it out from like being a jokey thing to being at least kinda believable slash empathizable characters who are kind of just existing for five or six minutes rather than just hitting one..
Here’s a funny idea when I was out.
Simon McCulloch: Here’s a funny line that came out of nowhere! That sounds funny, here’s something that’s funny, and just sticking it together. It’s more like – there’s a purpose, ideally, there’s a purpose for everything happening in each sketch. Rather than a random slew of content.
Mario Hannah: I think one of the problems we had when we started was all our sketches were written in this neutral voice. Every character was just saying things that served the function of the sketch [laughs], it was just let’s get from A to B.
So now you sort of loop back from A to B? You are going on sort of, rather than going on a straight line you are going on a curve?
Mario Hannah: Yeah, yeah.
Hayley Tantau: We've added some real human conversation into it so we could earn the funny bits. Drop into real stuff and go back to the comedy.
When and where can we see the show?
Simon McCulloch: The Catfish! It’s on Gertrude Street.
Hayley Tantau: 8pm! March 30th to April 4th!
And it’s called Trillcumber in…
Hayley Tantau: Is This Intimacy?
Mario Hannah: Question mark.
Simon McCulloch: It’s a question.
Hayley Tantau: Because we don't know what intimacy is.
Well, maybe you're audience will have an answer by the end of the show.
Hayley Tantau: That’s the plan.
Simon McCulloch: That’s kinda the only reason we're doing this. I just want a hard answer. Every sketch is a question I have, we’re going to pose it directly to the audience, and if I don’t get an answer, I’m going to charge double.
Hayley Tantau: It’s true, he’s going to do that.
Do you expect people coming up to you after the show and trying to explain what intimacy is to them?
Simon McCulloch: I want a detailed brief. I’m going to put pens and pencils underneath all the chairs. There’s a pop quiz in this! People think it’s just a hilarious show.
Mario Hannah: Well they'd be wrong.
Hayley Tantau: What!? [laughs].
Simon McCulloch: Oh you came here to laugh? Well I came here to learn.
Not just have your beers and your steak sandwiches.
Simon McCulloch: They have dynamite beers.
Mario Hannah: That’s probably something we should mention, they have Philly Cheesesteaks.
Hayley Tantau: And they're amazing.
Mario Hannah: Even if you don't like our show, you can get a cheesesteak.
Simon McCulloch: Yeah there’s vegetarian options as well. Dynamite.
Simon McCulloch: What I'm being inclusive! You say Philly Cheesesteak it sounds like it’s a meat house.
Mario Hannah: Before he’s asking about the show and you give him nothing, now it’s all about cheesesteaks.
What’s Trillcumber’s ultimate pick up line?
Hayley Tantau: As a collective?
Mario Hannah: I think Hayley wrote one on Twitter, on Trillcumber’s Twitter a while ago that got a good response.
Hayley Tantau: I have a lot. I have to go through.
Do you remember what it is?
Mario Hannah: They all start with a traditional pickup line, and end with “hey where you going come back”.
Hayley Tantau: I think one of them start with “Hey girl are you Santa on his sleigh hey where you going come back.” One of them was “Hey girl are you my dad because most likely you'll disappoint me.” One of them was “Hey girl are you a Christmas ham because you look just as tasty the day after.”
Simon McCulloch: Hayleyyyyyy.
Mario Hannah: Yeah let’s go with that one.
Simon McCulloch: The Christmas ham one is amazing.
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