Ever feel like you’re living in the Mojave Desert of contemporary comic theater? It seems the cosmic hope we’ve (at least I’ve) been waiting for has been under our collective nose all along — San Antonio’s own Comedia A Go-Go. This five-strong band of sketch comedians will be rocking their production, Public Axis, at the Jump-Start Theater this weekend. The collaborators — Joel Settles, Regan Arevelos, Jess Castro, Larry Garza, and Mark Riojas — met with the Current last week to spread the good word.
I was looking at your MySpace page, and you describe yourselves as “San Antonio’s live/video sketch comedy heroes.” Would you like to elaborate on that for those who don’t know?
JC: Yeah, but I haven’t changed it in one year! I said we were heroes because I wanted a picture of us with capes and we never did it.
RA: Jess is very big with science fiction, anime, comic books, that kind of stuff. So, when he put “heroes,” he sees us in that view, where we all have an alter-ego, and in which our comedy … I’m just making this up.
I watched some of your videos; will there be multimedia elements to Public Axis?
JS: Most definitely. Maybe you want to talk about — Regan — our videos and how we make them.
RA: We all actually met each other through the radio/television/film program at SAC and so we all love film, we all love making videos — so it was natural that we started making videos. And they got better as we got better, and the production value got better, the writing got better, the acting got better, the comedy got better. So, for sure this show is going to be a culmination of all those years of making those videos. And it’s intertwined with the live `comedy` as well, so it’s going to be an awesome, awesome show.
Can you tell me about the themes of the show?
JS: I think for me, the major kind of theme that’s come out of this is the fact that popular culture, here in America, modern popular culture has this amazing ability to believe and eat its own bullshit, so readily. We’re completely content with just eating and believing our own shit – to the point where our reality then becomes shittier. And then the way that we think about our reality then becomes a little further away from the truth. And so you can see that just turning on the TV… you see just this crazy, weird reality — reality TV itself, it’s just bizarre, you know? So I think this show really satirizes a lot of those elements in our popular culture, in our popular society.
RA: This show, the main thing is it’s called Public Axis. The reason we titled it that is an axis is an intersection of a lot of different things. We’re grabbing a lot of different things that we’re having problems with in society. Like `Joel` was saying, media, the TV, the government, the war, all the way down to personal things like family.
LG: The biggest theme to me is television, because basically nowadays the world, especially in America, revolves around television, and based on my personal experience, at least here in San Antonio, is that really you’re not anything unless you’ve made it on TV. What I think I like about the show is the contradiction we’re doing a live show, but we’re presenting as TV, kind of a satirical comfort-zone for people out there, when they go to the show, not really being comfortable with theater.
Would you classify your comedy as part of the post-PC movement?
JS: I think that that just happens naturally. You’re going to see a lot of things that would be considered un-PC.
RA: We’ve always considered ourselves uncensored. From day one, we never wanted to put a censor on anything. Ever. If we have an idea, we go balls-out, stick with it, and we do the idea.
JS: Any good art is always non-PC. That can’t even go into what you’re doing. It’s never been about that. We’ve never even thought about that, ever.
MR: We’ve become family; we consider each other brothers, so we can be comfortable with each other and say whatever we want to say – that’s shown through our shows. We don’t censor each other, so we’re not going to censor our shows.