Saturday Nutt Live
March 30th, 11:30 p.m. • Free
Nutt Street Comedy Room
255 N. Front St. (basement)
The Nutt Street Comedy Room will be filled with “more cowbell!” and “suck it, Trebek!” as Wilmington’s top comedians and writers put their own spin on America’s longest-running and highest-rated late-night show, “Saturday Night Live.” Appropriately titled “Saturday Nutt Live,” since it will be held downtown at Nutt Street Comedy Room, the show will have no commercials, star local actors, writers and music, and give anyone a chance to be involved, either onstage or in the audience.
Much like the structure to Lorne Michaels’ original TV counterpart, the transition back and forth from the live broadcast to live performances will ensure the flow and laughter is never interrupted. Thanks to John Gray’s Parallellogram multi-media company, each week “Saturday Nutt Live” will feature a live televised broadcast presented on a high-lumen projector and LCD screens, a comedic short film, a musical guest, a weekend update and multiple locally written comedy sketches.
“It’s my belief that one of ‘SNL’s’ strong aspects is its variety of different kinds of sketches,” Gray explains, “political or current-event related, the utilization of reoccurring characters, delving into humor of the absurd.”
Hank and Jed Productions—responsible for Machinima Network’s “Doraleous and Associates” and “Battlefield Friends”—will be presenting an animated short film.
The March 30th premiere will feature musical guest John Jeremiah Sullivan. A contributor to New York Times Magazine, GQ, Harper’s, among others, Sullivan plays acoustic guitar, though rarely in front of an audience. John Gray, Parallellogram’s creative director, explains, “Armed with a full brain of music history . . . and a haunting, ethereal voice that sounds like it should come from a young boy, while the lyrics sound like they come from a man who has lived many lives.”
“Saturday Nutt Live” would not be true to the original without “The Weekend Update.” SNL’s longest recurring sketch got its start from comedian extraordinaire Chevy Chase and comedienne Jane Curtin, which has carried on throughout the years with Kevin Nealon, Colin Quinn, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and now Seth Meyers. However, in the Nutt Street news studio, the audience will be informed on different subjects and events going on in our community.
“Timmy Sherrill, [owner of Nutt Street Comedy Room,] will be stepping into the role of ‘Timmy Sherrill,’” Gray explains, “a character who has a misdemeanor on his record, an orange prison jumpsuit and handles all the announcements at New Hanover County Prison.”
Unlike the 38-year-long late-night comedy, the audience will play a large role in submitting ideas to the humor. Anyone can submit their ideas for “The Weekend Update” by visiting www.nuttstreet.com. Selected entries will be credited on the website and at the show, and the writer will have input on the casting during rehearsals.
Gray adds, “There are no rules to the writing; you can literally do anything and if it works, it works. If you have a strong scene and characters to work with, we’ll be happy.”
“Saturday Nutt Live” will consider skit ideas as well as fully developed scenes (no longer than 5 minutes). Gray says, “Good writing is the backbone of any good comedy show.”
Since “Saturday Nutt Live” is an open talent forum, there’s no set group of actors or writers; new people will be involved weekly. Local stand-up comedian Madison Davis has written one of the sketches for this Saturday. Called “Craft Corner,” it’s a public access show with hosts Martha and Jerry. It revolves around teaching viewers how to make crafts out of materials from their own body’s sexual pleasings.
“It sounds potentially quite crass, but the exposition of the character’s relationship adds a high-brow depth to the scene,” Gray quips. “Personally, sketches with strong characters and interesting relationships are always my faves.”
For folks looking to take part onstage, Gray encourages actors, writers, musicians and anyone else really who wishes to be involved, e-mail a link to pictures (Facebook is fine) and a résumé.
“If we’re performing a sketch that contains a character that matches you, we’ll send you a script, and invite you to audition,” he notes. “For acting, the important thing is that the person is excited to be rehearsing and exploring the character, and discovering new things about relationships with each other.”
The Nutt Street Comedy Room (255 North Front Street) holds around 100 people. Gray has chosen seven cast members and four writers to debut the kickoff this weekend during the hour and a half show. Everyone with a mature sense of humor is encouraged to come, and right now tickets are free.