So by now most everyone has heard of a little show called "Wonder Showzen" that has a few season under it's belt, and is currently sitting in limbo waiting for either MTV2 to sign them for more episodes or for some other mega-media outlet to take a gamble. If it were up to me, they'd be showing it on prime time. I've been a fan for a few years now ever since i stumbled onto it one night and pretty much had my mind blown out my ass by the show's tiny diamond hard comedy nuggets. Recently i decided it was time to get the DVDs so i could watch hours of the show on end, which not surprisingly proved difficult - Wonder Showzen is so incredibly hostile, satirical, subversive and unsettling (all in the most delightful ways...) that i usually have to turn it off after about 3-4 episodes. But then i go back after i take a dump and make a bowl of cinnamon life, and watch some more.EW: Wonder Showzen has some of the most insanely cutting, graphic, and adult comedy out there. It seems odd that it's brought to you by the same network family that brings you TRL. Do you get the sense that the MTV bosses even know you're on? (from the Entertainment Weekly interview)
CHATMAN Our executives watch the show, and we get a lot of positive lip service, so I guess that's the best you can ask for.
LEE How do you get positive lip service when they don't talk to you?
CHATMAN ''Positive Lip Service'' was our new wave band, by the way, in the '80s.
LEE I would say at least one and a half executives watch this show. I feel secure in saying that.
CHATMAN It has some kind of veneer or aura about it that it's a cool thing, because the execs like to tell us, ''Oh, I like the show.'' As if, ''I'm the one who likes the show. I'm on board, don't worry.''
LEE ''We've got all these other crappy shows, I'm just thankful this show's on the air.''
CHATMAN You can see the shame in their eyes when they talk about it. F---ing [My Super] Sweet Sixteen and stuff. Nobody's proud.... I think we're actually kind of lucky to be at MTV, where we're bastard stepchildren who can do what we want. We're at the point where they're just like, ''All right, go ahead.''
Tell me about how you came up with the puppets.
CHATMAN Chauncey is based on a handmade puppet I bought at a thrift store that we made our original eight-minute demo tape with. Him is like a gyro, basically, and he's also partially based on John's dog Littlejeans, a Brussels Griffin. Wordsworth is the nerd, the smart guy, supposedly educational, so he has an exposed brain. And for Sthugar, we wanted the most sweet, girly girl.
LEE We don't really know anything about girls, so we figured pink, and one tooth, right?
CHATMAN Passive. Eyes set apart like a doe, waiting like prey. That's all we know.
LEE And they don't bruise easily.
CHATMAN We designed them and worked them out with the puppet makers. The original makers were from Sesame Street. The problem is they've been spending their whole lives sniffing glue and have gone crazy. We had a guy flipping out on us and screaming because he didn't want to make Sthugar this color pink.
LEE We had a distinct color, which most of them want. And we give it to him, and he yells, ''You don't dictate to me color!'' And he hung up and we never talked to him again. I didn't realize we were the Hitlers of color.
CHATMAN We wanted ''a'' color, which was totally fascist.
LEE To me, I thought that was totally capitalist. But I guess those two are pretty close, right? [They high-five exaggeratedly]
CHATMAN They're proprietary about everything.
LEE When we showed them drawings, they asked, ''Who's gonna puppeteer this?'' We said, ''I guess we'll do it.'' And they said, ''Do you have puppeteering experience?''
CHATMAN [Sarcastically] It's like, ''I can go like that.'' [He mimes opening and closing his hand like a mouth] I've talked to a baby before. Yeah, I think I can do it.
LEE I think they found that condescending. They wanted to do all the classic stuff, but we wanted it to be more homemade.
CHATMAN It's better to have little creatures and f---ed-up things. It's sweeter. Which then allows us to make them vomit, and it's funny. To have a realistic-looking puppet vomit is not as funny. We're heavy into early Jim Henson, not the Dark Crystal years and lamentable Fraggle Rock era...
LEE I'd rather Vernon s--- down my throat than have to do that.
CHATMAN And we tried it. You don't believe him? There's proof of that theory.
LEE The proof of that pudding was indeed in the eating.
CHATMAN I had a lot of pudding the night before to prove the amount.
Wonder Showzen attaches a lot of horrific elements to the humor – blood, screams, decomposing and dying animals. How close are horror and humor in your minds? (from the Dead Frog interview)
Our minds are so tiny and so symmetrical, everything is crammed equally close to everything else up in there. That said, anyone who has watched helplessly as their entire family was mercilessly and methodically butchered before their eyes knows firsthand how delightfully interchangeable horror and humor truly are.AVC: There's a lot of anti-meat sentiment on the show. Are you guys vegetarians? (from the Onion Interview)
VC: No. Meat is visually compelling. Meat works. Meat works for America. Meat is like a diamond. It's the perfect metaphor for whatever you need. Do you need a new metaphor? We'll hook you up.
JL: Meat is pretty compelling to look at. It's just solid murder, rock-hard murder. It's murder crystallized into pure meaty form. And that's just fun. When we do research and watch PETA videos, we're like, "Okay, we're not eating meat for a couple weeks."
VC: When you see a pig just kicking and looking in the camera, and blood's pouring out of it, and it's looking you right in the face…JL: But ultimately, all the deliciousness beckons, and you gotta go back to meat. It's a siren song. It's kind of like alcohol, but in a more solid form.