A lot has happened in the lives of June Raphael and Casey Wilson since they rocked the house during the 2005 Charleston Comedy Festival with their deservedly sold-out show, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet.
First, UPN hired them to put together a pilot for a possible television series. While the pilot never made it out of the “development” stage (i.e. it didn’t even get shot), it was a huge success for two actors a few years out of a Stella Adler workshop.
Then the duo took their act to the prestigious Aspen Comedy Festival, where they wowed audiences, critics, and, perhaps more importantly, a producer.
That producer so loved their two-woman show he eventually brought them back out to Hollywood, where they are now story editors for a new network show, Creature Comforts.
The creation of Nick Parks and Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run), Creature Comforts features claymation animals whose voices are dubbed from on-the-street recordings of real people responding to real questions. The show originally aired as a television series in the U.K. and was a big hit. CBS bought seven episodes of an American version as a midseason replacement due to debut next Super Bowl Sunday.
It’s now Raphael and Wilson’s jobs as story editors to get the right combination of voices, animals, and situations to hit the American sense of humor right in the gut.
“We get to decide what bits work with what animals,” says Wilson, who loves pitching jokes to counter or add to the verbal mayhem.
Even though the Creature Comforts gig isn’t “union,” meaning they aren’t getting the astronomical wages Hollywood writers often demand, they did get signed for 35-week contracts.
“Another cool thing that happened after Aspen,” says Wilson, on a rare and short break, “we were approached to rewrite a Kate Hudson movie called Bride Wars.”
Hudson met with the dynamic duo, loved their ideas, and hired them to rewrite the script.
The two have also been able to keep their stage skills sharp working in the Los Angeles theatre of the Upright Citizens Brigade, which opened last August. It was at the UCB’s New York stage where they first honed Rode Hard and Put Away Wet, a one-hour sketch show that mixes in funny video clips with hilarious, estrogen-heavy scenes.
When they come back to Charleston, only about half of the Rode Hard show from last time will still be intact; they’ve managed to add new live sketches and two new videos.
And as anyone who heard “Mary Beth” say, “I’m your friend; I am; I’m the friend that’s going to look you straight in the face and say ‘something’s wrong with you,'” or saw the hysterical slo-mo video of dieting girls fighting off the bread basket at lunch, can tell you, these girls are not long for the stages of Charleston.
“What? We’ll never get too big for Charleston,” says Wilson. “Especially after we had such a good time the last time we were here.”
We hope so, Casey, we hope so.
RODE HARD AND PUT AWAY WET • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe at Theatre 99 • $15 • May 26 at 7 p.m; May 27, 28 at 5 p.m • 1 hour • Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. •554-6060