Ever wondered what the perks of owning your own minor-league baseball team are? Or perhaps how a sleeping chair might revolutionize your life? Even if you haven’t casually pondered on the most socially appropriate catch phrases for a given occasion, the hilarious comedy duo Hip.Bang! are here to tell you why these objects and many more run-of-the-mill antics are worth your attention in their hysterical new web-series: PITCH MEN.
Directed and produced by Tom Hill and Devin Mackenzie PITCH MEN follows two middle-of-the-road guys as they attempt to sell various absurd antics by delivering high-energy, fun and fast-paced pitches. Each episode focuses on one specific product — from woodchips to impossible objects — and is followed by a quick glimpse of the characters' lives outside of the theatre, increasingly put under strain by their jobs as pitch men.
“In each episode, we’re presenting an idea and playing a game with that idea. We kind of juice comedy out of it," said Mackenzie. "While a narrative arc can be found here, there’s not so a much recurring storyline that happens in every episode, so they can be singular videos that can stand on their own.”
As a project for Hip.Bang!, PITCH MEN has been in the works for some time and was inspired by the comedy duo’s experience with UBC Improv and their involvement in the wider Vancouver comedy community.
“The original concept came from a scene we did in a show actually in a Vancouver Improv Festival a few years ago,” said Hill. “We were a pair of guys pitching a cruise, but it was a couple’s cruise where there was no kissing allowed as the real purpose of the cruise was harpooning whales. Overall, it was a really fun scene and the sort of quick-witted, aggressive style ended up becoming part of our inspiration for PITCH MEN.”
As can be expected in the production of their comedy web series, shooting the episodes was both a thrilling and memorable experience for the comedy duo.
“At one point [during filming], I had to go find an enormous pile of woodchips and shovel them into my car with the tarp down, which was totally ridiculous,” said Mackenzie. “The baseball episode was also really fun to shoot because we were doing a lot of dives and catches — basically playing baseball inside the theatre — and that was really fun.”
Yet the creation and editing of the episodes were not without its challenges.
“The original episodes were actually shot pretty quickly within a period of 2 days and quite extensively edited with support from our two fantastic editors, Peter Hadfield and Ryan Anderson,” said Hill. “It was also a key part of the process to make the videos almost unnaturally fast to replicate the way that pitchmen act. That was actually quite a time consuming process in editing just because it was very detail oriented to get that much air cut out.”
The series’ punchy two-minute episodes feature appearances from a variety of renowned local comedy heavyweights, including Aaron Read of The Sunday Service, who made a cameo appearance in their Catch Phrases episode.
With its innovative style, PITCH MEN delivers cutting wit and refreshing charm as Hill and Mackenzie continue to push boundaries with their unique brand of comedy. In addition to a number of surprising twists, audiences can expect some interesting choices on things that Tom and Devin sell, including products that they are not necessarily fond of and a whole lot more laughs. So buckle up!
“The series keeps changing quite quickly and I think it’s cool that you get to see the guys evolve as they go through the pitching. The pitches are wild enough that they will change you and, in the meantime, you will see how they change us,” said Hill.
New PITCH MEN episodes are released every Monday and Thursday on Hip.Bang!’s YouTube channel through December 17.