Published Sep 11, 2016VICELAND has done something that Vice TV could never do in the early days: make a comedy actually worth watching. Sure, all they did was take a web series that already existed and throw a bit more money at it, but the return of Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol's cult classic nirvanna the band the show is something to be excited about.
For the uninitiated: A mixture of scripted comedy with improvisational scenes involving unsuspecting (and often confused and terrified) people on the streets of Toronto, the series tells the story of two buffoons who will do whatever it takes to get their band a show at The Rivoli — except write and record some songs, of course. Their goal is hilariously modest, but the ploys and publicity stunts they do to achieve it are deranged, complex, stupid and inspired.
A week before its premiere online and on local television (CityTV and Viceland will apparently broadcast this fall), the creators of the show shared the third, fourth and fifth episode from the newly revamped series at Toronto's Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. (It was a fitting venue for the premiere — Johnson told the audience that seeing people lined up for Pure Pwnage, another cult Canadian web series, while in his undergrad was one of the inspirations behind starting the show.)
If fans of the original series were wary of the duo partnering up with a massive global media company, they have nothing to worry about: this is the same Jay and Matt you knew before. The only difference is, whether behind the scenes or on camera, they care way less about getting in trouble, leading the pair to do things like try to drive a makeshift float into the Santa Claus Parade, get kicked out of the Scotiabank Theatre on the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and illegally record themselves doing it), film scenes for a movie inside the hallways of a local art school and even prank a whole audience at a screening of Johnston's real-life movie Operation Avalanche (in select Canadian theatres this fall) at the Sundance Film Festival.
Late twenty-something Torontonians will probably get the most out of the show (it's a delight watching them wreck havoc in citywide institutions), but their humour, pop culture references and pure audaciousness make it totally accessible. (Vice Media Distribution)