All this month we are going behind the scenes of Improtoons – an improvised comedy cartoon sketch show. we talk to the Director Jonah Fazel and the cast Monica Gaga, John Oakes, Lucy Trodd and Amy Cooke-Hodgson to find out what really goes into making animated improv. In the last section of our interview we do the good ole fashioned quick fire question round
If you could have any three people (dead or alive) over for dinner – who would they be?
Lucy: Victoria Wood, Steve Martin, Persephone (Hades wife).
John: I’d have four. Jonah, Amy, Monica and Lucy.
Monica: In times like these probably my family.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Lucy: Don’t get it right, get it written. Also “Don’t prioritise someone, when to them you’re only an option”- basically know who your allies are and nurture that relationship.
Jonah: Bend like a reed in the wind and you’ll never snap.
If you could be from any other decade (or era), which would it be?
Lucy: I would like to have been 30 in the 1950s. Or to travel back in time and see what my home town (Folkestone) was like in its heyday- Victorian Times.
Amy: 1910/20s Upper Class Britain. I just want to go to jazz parties and drink gin cocktails and have a brother who brings smart friends wearing brogues home from Oxford Uni to stay in the West Wing during the holidays – I think I’ve mixed Downton and Brideshead Revisited…. Maybe I’ve just created a new long form show.
(This answer is heavily influenced by the lack of social events during lockdown and a heavy intake of period drama on Netflix)
John: Probably the future. I bet the flying cars the uk are producing post Brexit are ace.
Jonah: I’ve been to the year 3000, Not much has changed but they lived underwater- no wait that was Busted.
If you had to have a tattoo to represent improv what would you have and why?
Monica: Infinity sign, because if I ever fall out of love with improv, IO can say it represents something else.
Jonah: I already have too many embarrassing tattoos so why not add a giant steam train to improv crazytown inked across my chest.
Amy: Have you met me? I’d NEVER have a tattoo… haven’t even got my ears pierced. If it was one of those transfer ones that you could soak off in a bubble bath, then it would be of a pirate ship, captained by a robot with a ninja jumping from the crow’s nest. Thank God you can wash it off.
What’s on your music playlists right now?
Jonah: I’ve been going through a 70’s phase since covid hit. Perhaps it’s because I feel like it reminds me of happier times, you know like; 3 day weeks, the miners strike, and the cold war…Halycon days… Not that I was born then. Nile Rogers, Georgio Moroder, Disco & Motown and of course Cat Stephens (natch).
Lucy: I am currently listening to late 90s deep house and jazz club dance floor filler- for a thing I’m writing.
Amy: I’m currently discovering classical composers that have for obvious (& painful) historical reasons have been ‘forgotten’ or overlooked. This is largely driven by the need to educate myself and be able to teach a more varied and diverse curriculum at school (I teach music part time) Current crush? Florence B Price. Check her out. Great music. Remarkable story. I’m also a little bit in love with Lizzo.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
John: We actually have a cartoon about this?! I’d like to think it would be someone Tom Cruise but realistically… probably Danny DeVito.
Lucy: Yeah John’s right. Who you think would and who actually would is another thing. I’m not sure, but they have to be tall. As long as it’s not Miranda or Gwendoline Christie I’m cool, they seem to get all the parts I go up for!
Jonah: I would like for it to be Gonzo from the muppets, but it’s just as likely to be Oscar the Grouch.
Amy: Daisy May Cooper.
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
John: Remember that old kids TV show ‘Bernard’s Watch’? It was about a lad who found an old stopwatch, and when he pressed it time froze. I’d go for that I reckon.
Lucy: I have super smell already. So I guess I’d go traditional and say flying or mind reading.
Amy: Looking good in spandex.
Monica: What John said, omg I loved that show, I want it to be Monica’s Watch.