Almost Baymous 3 is Almost Here
Spoiler alert! If you go see Almost Baymous 3 you will be transported back to the days of Thomas Amusements, you might see a Pogeymon and you will be exposed to a “big dick supper”. Halfhandsome’s annual sketch comedy revue show is set to take the stage at the LSPU Hall with issues faced by young Newfoundlanders, all through the lens of satire, or salt beef as they put it.
Almost Baymous came from the mind of Andrew Tremblett, while he was studying at The Second City in Chicago, Illinois. “ I was part of an ensemble cast that had one month to create a comedy show that was relevant to our peers. We were taught how to create comedy that young people laughed and thought about,” he said via email.
Meanwhile, back home on The Rock, the joke was on us, in the form of the 2016 provincial budget. “I remember people were furious,” said Tremblett. “I figured that if Newfoundland ever needed a revival of local sketch comedy, it was now. ” There was no set angle for the show, but Tremblett knew that there was a need to say something about the state of our province. “I was convinced that ‘relevant comedy to an audience of Newfoundland millennials’ would work and that it would be damn funny,” he said.
There didn't seem to be any type of sketch comedy like this in Newfoundland. Tremblett teamed up with an old friend from Grenfell’s Theatre Program in Corner Brook, Stuart Simpson, who was just as upset with Newfoundland politics and the culture surrounding young Newfoundland.
Now in its third year, a lot has changed about Almost Baymous, but Tremlett said the team behind the show tries their best to keep the cast and writers constant, even though it doesn’t always happen.
Same cast, new material though. “We write new things every year and we never know what the show is going to be until maybe the third week into rehearsal,” he said. “We go in with a blind eye, and I (as the director) have to think quick on my feet and take all the material that we rehearsed and turn it into a cohesive show. We are trying something a bit different this year, the show is shorter, and has a theme.”
This year, the show will have a shorter run time but there is a focus on nostalgia. “Who were we and what has changed. Not strictly as Newfoundlanders but as a generation that is living in a faster and more instantaneous world. What kind of place are we living in, and how are we going forward? Are we going forward, or are we just repeating ourselves and settling for nostalgia? Personally, I don’t know. But we are exploring it[in the show].
A show of this magnitude takes a lot of work to organize with Tremblett calling it “a theatrical jigsaw puzzle to put together.” What starts out at about 150 scene pitches gets honed down to 30, and those 30 get worked down to 20 during table reads.
“We did a lot of cool stuff last year, we had a lot to say. This year we want to do more, and I mean do more,” said Tremblett. “Physically, the show is a marathon run for the performers, there are many group sketches, and sometimes the sketches don’t end with a punchline, they’ll just run into something else.”
Tremblett called the team behind Almost Baymous 3 “incredibly hard-working”. “Everyone is hilarious, even the people not performing,” he said. Having such a hilarious group of people working on the sketches helps to ensure that the audience will be in on the jokes. “We are all different people with different backgrounds and experiences, so it's safe to assume someone else is going to find it funny.”
The hardest part of the show is rehearsing. “We rehearse so much that the jokes start to get old to the performers and me,” said Tremblett. “We have to remind ourselves constantly that it’s just because we are so close to the material. We have to trust that our instinct is right; that the thing with a writing room, it’s a team effort, and you have to have everyone on the same page. If your room as a group finds it funny, chances are the audience will too.”
Audiences can see for themselves but if Tremblett’s enthusiastic, thoughtful and witty responses to our questions are any indication, Almost Baymous 3 should be a great show.
Finally, we ended off with a somewhat philosophical question. If Halfhandsome is “Almost Baymous”, then what would make someone “Absolutely Baymous”? Tremblett explained that to be “Baymous”, is to be “Newfoundland Famous”, so if you’re “Almost Baymous” then you’re almost "Newfoundland Famous".
“You asked about the requirements of being Absolutely Baymous? Or just Baymous, as we would say in the writing room,” said Tremblett. “I’ll do some math to show you: Ron Hynes = Baymous, Karl Wells = Baymous. Some advanced math: Gordon Pinset = World Renowned Baymous.”
So there you have it.
Almost Baymous 3 kicks off May 15 at 8:00 PM at the LSPU Hall and runs for five shows. Get your tickets here.