Andrew Connor and Mike Mathieu don’t write jokes.
“We write active, manic material that people respond to, and it’s sort of intangibly funny,” Mathieu says.
So, what does that mean?
The unpredictable comedy style of The Cody Rivers Show is both cerebral and highly physical. It’s hard to define; a sort of absurdist sketch comedy that juxtaposes a surreal mixture of characters, storylines, and themes with highly choreographed movements and music.
Yes, that’s a mouthful.
And although Connor and Mathieu work a lot of complexity into their vignettes, they start simply.
Mathieu says sometimes the writing process begins with the smallest seed of an idea, like a visual of where they’re standing onstage.
Or maybe a sketch is born out of just two interesting lines of dialogue.
Sometimes it’s more structured; sometimes they just free write.
Mathieu and Connor have been performing as The Cody Rivers Show for five years, but have known each other for 12.
Together they have a rich history of performing in plays and improv and “non-stop goofing off together,” Mathieu says.
They’ve dressed as identical humanoid lizard creatures and reenacted a scene of discovery similar to that in 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a twist, of course.
Another sketch had them wearing one costume on their front and another on their back, allowing them to play four characters at once.
So what can audiences expect from their new show at Piccolo Spoleto?
A buddy cop scenario with an unlikely zoological partner? Yes.
An NPR parody? Yes.
A little singing and dancing? Yes.
A hyperactive radio broadcast that discusses Greenland seceding from Denmark? Yes.
And what’s so funny about that, you may ask?
Regardless of the topic, The Cody Rivers Show thrives on revelations of the unexpected. So unexpected that Mathieu is hesitant to say any more.
“At the time these things are happening, there’s usually multiple games at play,” Mathieu says. “There’s something revealed.”
Layering is evident throughout the show, and unexpected, quick turns are everywhere. This creates the momentum that drives Mathieu and Connor in a faster-than-fast-paced dance of movements and language that can make your head spin if you’re not paying attention.
You’ll never see the same show twice, Mathieu promises Meanwhile, Everywhere is totally different from last year’s Piccolo Fringe show.
“We prioritize variety,” he says. “Cerebral scenes, silly scenes, music scenes; it’s a diverse ride over the course of an hour.”
It moves pretty fast, and it’s really active, so even though some of it might go over their head, Mathieu thinks the ultra-physical, circus-type nature of the show would even appeal to younger audiences as well.
“The more you pay attention, the more you get out of the show,” says Mathieu. “Come on board and connect the dots.”
Afterward, you may leave the show saying that was funny, and I don’t know why. But it will be funny, nonetheless.