The Big Lez Show: More Laughs Than South Park
Coolangatta’s finest crack Comedy Central.
Yeah, look, we’re not saying it’s better than the American dons but the Stab office hasn’t howled in a long time like it did after watching the 55 minute Big Lez opus, Choomah Island 2. It’s a cartoon, it’s twisted, and you’ll find it on Youtube. Two of the brains behind it, Jarrad Wright, 21, and Izak Whear, 21, both from the famed surf coast of Coolangatta took us inside their Australia…bogan Australia.
Stab: It’s hard to remember anything that’s captured the soul of this battered land better than The Big Lez Show.
Jarrad: Cheers man.
What’s your secret?
J: It just kinda happens. It’s just our humour I guess. If we see someone that’s funny, or a strong accent, it just goes straight into the show.
I: We’re people watchers. We watch people and laugh, but not in a crude way.
J: We can’t really describe it. We just portray people who might have a funny personality that is just so Australian and so funny but for some reason no one has really recognised it. It just happens. The characters build up there own personalities in our heads. Their characteristics are based on 1000s of people who’ve got these Aussie attributes.
I understand you’ve got pretty deep roots in surfing, Jarrad?
J: My dad and my brother are full on into surfing. My dad makes his own boards, called Martin Wright Shapes, my brother Dane Wright’s a mad surfer as well. They got heaps of boards and I was brought up always going to the beach and stuff. I was never really the surfer but I was always there climbing trees or climbing along the rocks at D Bah wall or some shit. Always hanging around the surf factories playing with the dogs and that…
Any observations on our confused little sub-culture?
J: Observations…not too much. I feel like the surf culture, everyone’s attitude towards it all is real chill, laid back and relaxed. I really like the vibes that come from surf culture. It’s where I feel at home. It’s my favourite category of sport. But that’s where a lot of funny slang comes from. I’ve always loved that.
Gonna throw some satire our way anytime soon?
J: Yeah, for sure. Down the track we wanna do something because Sassy (the Sasquatch) and that are all into surfing and shit. Donnie is into boogin’ (laughter).
What does this Comedy Central gig mean?
J: That’s a little release for our new little side series for Mike Nolan. It’s short five minute episodes that follow him through his day to day life. It’s Me and Tom and Izak as cartoon characters just interviewing him and he takes us on quick little journey. Comedy Central are putting it up on their new website. It’s a little foot in the door.
Coolangatta and the Tweed, where you guys are from, is better known as the centre of the Australian surfing universe – home to the likes of Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson among others. But there’s another side to it isn’t there?
J: There are a lot of sides.
I: We went to Tweed River high school. We definitely got a lot of inspiration from there.
J: The characters in the show come and go in your life. One character will have 15 different people from your life in him that you’ve associated with. I worked with this nice old bloke at BIG W when I was 16 and he had the funniest voice, real nice, full surfer and everything. But his voice was, I dunno, so Aussie. He became Sassy’s voice. You get these characteristics and different personalities and you come up with a character.
The Tweed’s had its fair share of social problems too – violence, binge drinking, a bit of a weird youth gang thing for a while.
J: We don’t really see that. It’s not in our awareness.
I: Back in high school we used to. It’s died down a lot. Now we don’t see that part of Tweed at all.
J: We live in our own world, we see a paradise, people see whatever they wanna see and we see a happy surf town.
I: We just put Lez in a situation and then put ourselves in that situation and wonder, what would Lez do? He’d smash someone in the face.
How do you guys come up with it?
J: We’ve never sat down and wrote a script. We hang out as friends and go about our daily life. A few funny things will happen and we’ll have a laugh and be like, that should be in the show.
What do you make of the way we are here? Like, our culture?
I: Our culture is built on having a good time.
J: It’s just laid back really. We don’t give a shit. We’re out of it all the way down here, even though we’re in it. We’re just chilling in camping chairs, relaxing. We’re rowdy, but we’re also chill. We’re a mixture of everything.
How do you see the show? Is it like a celebration of Australia?
J: It’s not really anything to do with Australia, it’s just made by Australian blokes and the Australian accent is just so funny. You know like you’ve got Mike Nolan the tradie who you’ll find on every work site. I think Australians will understand it better than anyone else. If you showed it to someone else they probably wouldn’t really get it. We’ve got our own language, our own sayings, like, “yeah, nah, yeah, yeah, nah, fucken…”
That Damo and Darren series has blown up too. Why do you reckon people are so into dysfunctional bogan Australiana?
J: No idea. They probably just got the same idea as us from looking at their fellow Australians, and thinking, yeah, we’re pretty funny fuckers. And you don’t really see any Australian cartoons, either. You’ve got Australian actors in movies but it doesn’t capture the way you see it in real life. You look around and see what is completely normal in Australia and then you sit back and take it out of context, and it’s fucking hilarious.
The show’s taken a psychedelic turn of late. What’s brought that about?
J: Psychedelics…(laughter). That stuff pretty much shows you a whole ‘nother side of things and you understand a whole ‘nother side of life. It’s hard to explain, that part. I’ll try to find a way to explain it one day.
What’s the deal with that little Mandala-flower-of-life image popping up in your episodes?
J: I love the flower of life. You know what it is?
J: It’s the creation pattern. The pattern from which all things in all of reality are made up of. It’s a continuous pattern that is a blue print for everything that exists. All life is made up of this pattern, the flower of life. I use this pattern in my mind to make the art I do, the music, I use it when I paint, it’s in everything I do. It’s ancient sacred geometry, man. It’s really hard to explain, I’d have to draw up an equation to explain it. I love that shit.
And fuck Neverland. I hate that place…
I: Yeah, yeah us too. We always go back there but we always regret it. It’s the only place to go where you can meet all your friends from school. Just the local watering hole, I guess. Everyone hates it.
I went to a Lost Valentinos gig there with Dion Aigus once and before it even started someone poured a beer on the singer’s head. I think they canned the show. Dion was so bummed…
J: Aww no.
Where are you guys at in the journey of the Big Lez Show?
J: The first ten episodes were just a hobby to show our friends some of the funny ideas we had. I put it on youtube to send it to Izak and from that a bunch of our friends saw it and encouraged us to keep making them. Then people started seeing it on youtube and wanting more so we made another season, and a third. We’ve just finished the big long feature episode. Now we’re in the imagination phase of seeing what our options are, of what’s up next, and how we are going to go about it this time. We’re trying to see if there’s a new way to produce longer episodes and bring them out faster. We’d like to make it a bit more concrete and properly written. There’s heaps of things to look at.
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