Randy and Jason Sklar have a knack for exploring what makes America’s cities unique and wonderful, whether it’s finding out who in San Diego serves the best burritos, why basketball is so popular among those in Bloomington, or why the people of Portland can’t let go of their old airport carpeting.
Randy and Jason searched for topics specific to each community they visited – then challenged themselves to see whether they could perform jokes about those topics that locals would find funny. More broadly, they dug into the American psyche and explored its dark and quirky crevices both on stage and off. Follow their shenanigans in this comedic documentary which visits 10 different cities, each a new chapter and a new adventure. With an arsenal of jokes and a curious mind, the Sklars attempt to answer one burning question: as a nation, can Americans still laugh at themselves?
The answer is yes. Americans can still find themselves funny.
And, and a bonus treat, here’s a Quick Six with the brothers, to let you in on some of their creative processes.
What has inspired you recently?
The Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel has been incredibly inspiring to us for a number of reasons. Not only is it a beautiful show, brilliantly written and performed by amazing actors, every time we see her get on stage and work through material we are inspired to get up and perform. We are also inspired by the deserved success of our producer from Sklars and Stripes, Scott Rogowsky as the host of HQ Trivia. Scott is talented and hilarious and generous and his success is a reminder that funny and good people can break through.
Morning or night person (in spite of your job)?
We are night people, which is great for our job in comedy. But we have small children so we are forced to be awake early to help get them on their way to school, so we are forced to also be morning people, Which doesn’t always work out so well. One look at our kids’ lunches will tell you that. Last week, Jason son opened up his lunch box and there was an orange a pair of socks and some cough syrup. (Late nigh at the Comedy Store the night before).
When was the first time you performed for someone outside your friends or family?
The first time we stood on stage at a comedy club was in 1987. We were 15 and submitting a tape of our comedy for a possible comedy special featuring young, young comedians, under 16. That was terrifying. We were not ready. Needless to say we had an uneven set. We did get a few laughs and I think the fact that it wasn’t a total disaster gave us a glimmer of hope to try again a few years later. And we’ve been at it for decades ever since.
Where is your favourite place to perform?
There are so many amazing places in which to perform it’s hard to pick just one. So here’s the cop out answer: In Los Angeles, Largo is a very special venue, as is the Comedy Store and the Improv, UCB and the Meltdown which is sadly closing are all amazing. In New York, there’s nothing like the Comedy Cellar and The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, and Union Hall and The Bell House. And on the road, we love performing at clubs like Comedy Works in Denver, and Comedy Club on State in Madison, and Helium in Portland, The Comedy Attic in Bloomington, Acme in Minneapolis, Cap City in Austin and the North Bar in Chicago.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t funny?
We’d probably be dumb, boring lawyers. We almost went to law school. We both got accepted. (not so humble brag) If you were a Jew and graduating college in the mid 1990’s and you didn’t do well in science, you had two choices, go to law school or take over your father in law’s business.
If a movie was made about your life, who would be the daring choice to play you?
I think Jason would play Randy, or Randy would play Jason. Or Mark Feuerstein would play both of us. The daring choice of course, would be Denzel. He can do anything — even portraying twin Jewish comedians.