This month on The Phoenix Remix, we are going bananas for the sketch group Scribbling Ape who are performing for the first time at The Camden Fringe. Today we sat down with the boys, Ziggy, Troy and Ant to talk about the writing process involved with their up and coming sketch show.
How do you come up with the sketches?
Z: Well the first arrived inscribed on a paper-Mache velociraptor
T: Which leapt into our bathtub…
A: Yep, right between us the little bugger.
Z: Us? I think you were probably on a bench somewhere drinking a can of super tenants.
T: Ziggy has a hyper aggressive ink allergy, so I had to act fast, to prevent the running ink from melting his legs.
Z: But he wasn’t fast enough, so I grabbed the nearest instrument to fish out the papery prehistoric pest
T: Thankfully I had just installed a new bassoon.
A: Nowadays, the sketches come from here, there, and everywhere.
Ape: Usually strapped to bricks.
A: Yeah, I’ve ended up in A & E a few times, (laughter) haven’t I lads?
Where do you find inspiration?
A: The dark web mostly.
T: Yeah, we get it imported from Turkmenistan.
Z:The good stuff, 90% pure inspiration
Ape: 10% desperation.
T: We were thinking of selling it on at street value, but we’re pretty hooked now. We have it in our coffee, spread it on toast…
A: I’ve got an intravenous drip.
Z: Other than that… um, pain. emotional, spiritual, muscular, anything really.
T: I do have an umbilical hernia.
Describe the writing process.
Z: Our writing isn’t processed, its 100% organic
T: Yeah, We only use free range adjectives.
A: It’s the best time I’ve ever had, like literally, it brings tears to my eyes. Saved my life man, saved my life.
Why did you want to go into sketch comedy and not other forms of comedy and why?
Ape: Its the perfect forum for experimental laughter craftsmen to sharpen their wit. To pervert, defile and contaminate expectations – and feast on the remains.
Whats been one of the funniest sketches to write and why?
T: Challenging question, we piss ourselves all the time, but if you held a knife to my throat and forced me to answer I would say Huxton and Petunia Pockstayne.
Z: Particularly as it arrived on a day when we were licking out the last bag of Turkmenistanian high grade.
T: To give this some context, Huxton is a ludicrously posh relic from a bygone era and his wife is … basically from another planet.
Z: and what evolves from the scenario is something much more familiar
T: It went down very well at the preview
A:… I’ve just pissed myself.
Whats been the most difficult and why?
Z: Living with an ape isn’t easy. Living with an ape inside your head is even harder.
T: Particularly when you all share one head.
A: Costume changes for me.
Have there been any sketches that you have had to adjust because they don’t do well on stage and how did you over come this?
A: Yeah most of them really, but we’re not changing anything at this point.
Do you just write sketches for the stage or do you have a Youtube channel as well?
Z: Teaching an ape to navigate the internet and operate a reel to reel is a thankless task, but we’re getting there.
T: So look out for some fresh video content coming soon
Ape: Yeah, I have been a little bogged down trying to set up my interstellar restaurant franchise “Prime-ate steaks in space” – once all the franchisees are confirmed, I shall have another go at working YourTube.
Which comedies do you find inspiring as a writer and why?
A: Ant & Dec’s Saturday night takeaway…because it is SO random
With the world of technology ever evolving (virtual reality etc) do you think that this will have an impact on sketch comedy in the future and what do you hope the future holds for the genre?
Ape: When the humourless android armies come forth, we will be prepared to stand up for comedy and defend humanity against the soulless machines.
A: Hang on, “humanity” you’re a bloody animal!
Ape: That’s what your Mother said last night, when she was gobbling down my unusually curved and elongated flesh, rich in starch, covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple or brown when ripe… (whispers) I’m talking about my banana.
Z: Yeah… also we could save money on set and think of the possibilities of virtual reality!
T: We could even do a sketch in a bloody…shed or something.
What are your plans for the next year for Scribbling Ape?
T: North Korea
Z: I mean, we take each day as it comes and are grateful for every opportunity we get but yeah, we aim to be in North Korea by Christmas.
A: Our career is only going one way – North.
Whats the best thing about writing your sketches and whats the worst?
Z: The best is the laughter, I’ve shed many tears throughout this process – I’ve been collecting them to help me drown the ants that have infested my bedroom.
A: You said it was fine for me to stay for a couple of days, as long as I was out of sight!
T: And the worst .. editing.
Ape: Indeed, killing your darlings is tough, especially when they look you straight in the eye.