The first time I saw the “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show” was because someone had mailed me a YouTube link. Immediately I was smitten.
If the absurd bent of Japanese “Hello Kitty” pop culture perplexes you in a humorous way, this is an Internet show worth making part of your smallscreen habit.
The show is un-PC; if you were weaned on Buck Henry and Mel Brooks’ “Get Smart” series from the sixties as I was, the mangled Asian/ “Engrish”-speak harkens the classic “Diplomat’s Daughter” episode from “Smart” season one where “The Craw” (The Claw) made his debut. You won’t be offended by any of it.
The video series was created by husband-and-wife comedic team Greg Benson and Kim Evey’s production company, Mediocre Films. “Chicken” features a Japanese schoolgirl styled character.
Sony Pictures caught wind of the quirky series and signed them up; the show joined a cache of unique comedy programming that tests different formats and personalities, with performer Penn Jillette to comic Owen Benjamin, and guest stars Adam Arkin and even porn legend Ron Jeremy.
The couple’s success on YouTube and the Sony deal cemented the “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Show” as a hip comedy destination for many actors, including Wil Wheaton, a Monsters and Critics favorite who made his bones as the introspective, quietly grieving Gordie LaChance in “Stand By Me,” and then went on to star in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” before continuing his work as an actor while becoming an Internet prodigy and published author.
Wheaton’s latest book, “The Happiest Day of Our Lives,” is a compilation of poignant and elegant tales from his storied life. The book follows his “Dancing Barefoot” and “Just A Geek.”
Wil is a self-described “huge geek” who now passes his love of his geeky hobbies and values along to his own children, as he journals his memories of a generation growing up in the ’70s and coming of age in the ’80s.
Monsters and Critics spoke to Wil yesterday:
Did you know Greg Benson and Kim Evey prior to signing on to do an
episode for them?
Wil Wheaton: Yes. We wrote and performed together in several sketch shows at the
ACME Comedy Theater in Hollywood.
What was it about this show that spoke to your comedic sensibilities, what did you like about it?
Wil Wheaton: I was already a fan of Mediocre Films, and I adore Greg and Kim, so any opportunity to work with them was automatically a no-brainer for me. But the thing that really excited me about this project was how they took this really funny but totally non-mainstream idea and used the Internet to distribute it in a totally non-traditional way.
Let me explain: Today, we take for granted that talented people will go straight to the Internet to find their audience, but as recently as five years ago, it was an incredibly controversial idea.
When we were doing ACME together, I’d already been publishing and selling my books using the Internet to reach a decentralized audience on my own terms, breaking the traditional rules of publishing and publicity.
I didn’t want to worry about convincing 12 people in a pitch meeting that my work was worthy, when I could spend the same amount of effort pitching my work to thousands of people in the audience directly.
I saw tremendously talented people at ACME who were struggling to get their work in front of development people and casting people who were very difficult to get into the theater, with no guarantee that there’d be a good audience that night, or that the studio people would be in a mood that made them receptive to enjoying comedy.
Yes, believe it or not, people will come to a comedy show determined not to laugh. Go figure.
I told anyone who would listen to me that they should distribute their work online, and when YouTube made it so easy, some of my fellow writers jumped in headfirst.
Liam Sullivan just won a People’s Choice Award for “Shoes,” which he put online, and Greg and Kim now have a deal with Sony, because they put all their Mediocre Films projects online also.
Kim also works with Felicia Day on “The Guild,” which is currently exploding and will shortly be snatched up by a smart studio, if it hasn’t already. So in addition to how much I respect their creativity and how much I adore them as people, I was thrilled to be part of something that I’d always believed they could do.
And it’s really, really funny. And weird. And did I mention that it’s funny?
The humor used in this webisode series is akin to the very un-pc stuff Buck Henry and Mel Brooks got away with during “Get Smart” in the sixties. What mangled name did Kiko give you, and what else can we look forward to in your episode?
Wil Wheaton: I play a douchebag Hollywood agent named Moshe Schwartz. Kiko calls me “Mushy Shorts.” There’s also a song and dance, where Unicow kind of humps my head. It’s not as traumatizing as it sounds. Wait. Yes it is.
What is your favorite (if any) Japanese icon or pop culture phenomenon?
Wil Wheaton: Anime and Manga.
I was introduced to anime in 1988 or 1989 when I saw a 5th generation VHS bootleg of Akira. It had no subtitles, and my friends and I created our own storyline that, as it turned out, had nothing in common with the actual story told in the movie.
I started reading Manga about three years ago with Battle Royale, and I’ve been lucky enough to write two Mangas for TokyoPop. I’m a huge fan of the medium.
Are there any other C-Spot shows you may appear in?
Wil Wheaton: You know the one where they give you a camera and a pile of money, and tell you to go around the country to comic book shops, game shops, video arcades and sci-fi conventions? I’m totally into that.
It’s a new series called “Wil Wheaton Gets His Geek On.”
Sadly, it only exists in my mind.
Wil will be guest starring on an episode of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show on Friday 5/30.
The Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show is one of 6 new shows on Sony TV’s new multi-platform comedy network, C-Spot. All the shows are viewable on Crackle (LINK.)