Long Pork

The Gentlemen of Long Pork

The gentlemen of the sketch comedy troupe Long Pork — Lee Russell, Zoran Gvojic, Charley Carroll, Zack Whittington, and Seth Gorham — have traveled from Chicago to NYC this weekend for their first-ever Sketchfest NYC performance. They will be sharing a bill with Canadian sketch duo 2-Man No-Show at 8 p.m. at the UCB Theatre.

Next week, they’ll be performing at the TBS Just for Laughs Festival in Chicago. But this weekend, New Yorkers have them all to ourselves. I spoke with Russel, Gvojic, and Carroll before their performance at Sketchfest NYC tonight. Read the Q&A below to learn more about Long Pork and what to look forward to at Sketchfest:

For New York City audiences who have never heard of Long Pork, describe your comedy and performance style.

Zoran Gvojic: Constant. After watching other sketch shows, we have made a conscious effort to avoid blackouts – bringing the lights down while we change scenes – and instead incorporate dance-inspired musical transitions that carry the viewer from one scene to the next. This makes our show into one complete experience.

Lee Russell: We’re very violent and very silly. There’s a little cross dressing, a lot of dancing, too many drugs, and a few monsters. It’s like watching live action cartoons.

Charley Carroll: Long Pork is our interpretation of Looney Tunes for adults. Goofy faces, stupid voices, needless violence, and wacky antics, but with big boy words and occasionally the kind of things your mom would have covered your eyes for at the movie theater in the 5th grade.

What are you most looking forward to about Sketchfest NYC?

Lee: Getting the chance to perform at the UCB Theater. It’s an incredible opportunity.

Charley: Every time we get to travel with our show, we get the most amazing audiences.

What can you tell us about your upcoming Sketchfest performance, and why should audiences be excited?

Zoran: This is our best-of showcase. Our sketches include a full on magic show, a live-action Mad Libs scene, and an improv game that incorporates a real dog shock collar.

Lee: I know it’s going to be a show that’s leaving it all out on the dance floor. We’re doing flips, freezing like robots, and breaking our necks. That stage will be covered in sweat, blood, and more than a few tears.

Charley: Our comedy is off the wall crazy. We like to ask each other “What’s something you think you could never do in a sketch show?,” or “What do we see all the time, and how can we take it to a different or new level?” And then we figure out ways to do it. So for those who don’t know a lot about sketch, it’s a fun, completely irreverent experience. For those who know sketch comedy well, we like to think it can be a breath of fresh air.

What are the biggest challenges about performing in Sketchfest NYC? And what do you hope to gain from the experience?

Lee: Not knowing how our sensibilities will land on a New York crowd. With any crowd it’s guesswork, but if we kill in NYC, I know I’ll feel like we made it. The experience itself will be enough, but I’d like to think we’ll walk away with bigger balls. Like, big metal testicles that knock down walls and sink cities. All metaphorically speaking. Because if those balls are real, they’re dangerous and should be locked up.

Charley: Our biggest challenge is always traveling. Since we are so heavily influenced by our theater backgrounds, we use a lot of props and multimedia. This is awesome because it makes us different, but that also means we don’t travel lightly.

Zoran: I’ve loaded up on Doctor Who audiobooks to make the 15-hour drive just fly by. And I hope we gain a few new fans that wouldn’t normally get to see us.

Charley: And, while Chicago is a comedy powerhouse, New York is known for being the same in a lot of ways. So we hope to see how our show plays to NYC audiences and learn a lot about this city that made our city second place in everything we do — except murder rates.

Long Pork

Have you performed in front of NYC audiences before, or is this your first time? What are your expectations?

Lee: I’ve never been in New York state. I’ve never seen New York City. I have no idea what I’m doing. Last time I looked, it was time for my pills. This is going to be great! I can’t wait!

Charley: This is our first time in front of an NYC crowd. I’d say our expectations are high. We’ve traveled out West to perform, done multiple gigs down south, and so far they’ve been some of our favorite shows. For us, just being in such a great venue with so many cool people is a dream come true; getting to show them our work is an amazing bonus.

Zoran: First time, so be gentle. And I expect NYC to call me the next day.  Is that so much to ask?

Lee: I’m pretty sure if we don’t make the audience laugh, we will all be stabbed and left for dead behind the theater. Typical New York expectations.

How were you selected for this year’s Sketchfest NYC lineup? And why did you choose to apply?

Lee: This year we sent in a DVD and prayed to the great god, Ki’i. I think the DVD helped the most. We applied this year just to see if we could get in. Now, it’s time to shine on the dance floor.

Charley: I’m sure we were selected because our application video shows one of our members with a dog shock collar around his neck being shocked multiple times. That generally is what gets the most attention by the people who decide who gets to perform in these festivals. Our guess is that they probably get tired of watching the hundreds of submission videos, and most likely want to hurt someone after a while. We help fulfill that need. That’s probably cheating, but we’ll take what we can get!

Are there any other groups performing at Sketchfest NYC that you are especially excited to see or work with, or who you feel are “simpatico” with Long Pork?

Lee: We know Team Submarine from their days in Chicago and we’re all pretty excited to see them perform in their new hometown. I’m also pretty excited to see FUCT in their home-town. I’m excited to just get to see as much as possible.

Charley: Of course, we are also stoked to see all the teams we’ve never seen before. That’s always the biggest treat of doing these festivals.

Long Pork

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about yourselves and Long Pork?

Charley: No matter what people tell you about us, we are attractive bunch and we love the ladies. So our dream is to fill the audience with already-drunk bachelorette parties. I hear that is Back Stage’s major demographic. Is that true? Can you help us achieve our dreams?

Zoran: Our goal is to make a sketch show experience that is unlike any other. We love to try and pull off the impossible on stage, whether it’s bullet time, a live-action movie trailer, or re-enacting an entire scene from the movie Tremors. We hope that you’ll come join our fun.

Lee: We love to hear from our audiences. Come check out our website www.longpork.com, or follow us on Twitter @longpork. You’re welcome, New York. I’m thankful.

Zoran: And in case you were wondering about the name: Long Pork is what cannibals call human flesh.

See Long Pork tonight at 8 p.m. at the UCB Theatre, performing as part of the sixth annual Sketchfest NYC. For more info about Sketchfest NYC, visit SketchfestNYC.com.

This Q&A was posted online June 11, 2010 at Blog Stage.