Deadpan Powerpoint are two-time winners of the NOW Audience Choice Award at The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Seems they’re doing something right. So why, then, is The Best of the Fest Encore Show truly their final performance? We asked Mike Kiss that question and a few others.
Tell us about your win at Sketchfest.
It was the best show we’ve played in Toronto. We had a friendly crowd, in large part composed of people who realized they’d never come out to see us, and wouldn’t have another chance. Kinda like why people get flu shots. It was also the only time that the insurmountable technical challenge of plugging a laptop into a projector has ever worked perfectly on the first attempt.
You won the Audience Choice award based on what was supposed to be your retirement show. Now you’re here playing Best of the Fest. Will you ever be able to Retire?
Oh, yes. Watch us. It may happen in the middle of our set.
(if so) What does retirement hold for you?
Mike might find something else to do in comedy because he can’t live without it. Ted’ll be fine. We may finally record the comedy album we’ve been talking about for years.
What excites you in real life? Or do you hold onto the deadpan gimmick 24 hours a day.
Mike is excited by baseball, knowing that he’s going to see a dog today, and knowing he doesn’t have to get up early. Ted likes saving money. At least that’s what Mike thinks. We’re both voice actors, and our onstage characters are parodies of what everyone thinks of us as performers. So the gimmick is that we’re doing impressions of ourselves. Speaking only for myself (Mike) I keep the gimmick going so no one ever sees how devoid of personality I truly am.
NXNE has brought back Comedy Programming for a 2nd year, and has expanded the stream to include over 75 comics and troupes. What does this mean for Comedy Culture in Toronto?
We’ll see. Exposure is great, but it’s really the selection process that makes the difference in these things. I can only really speak about the sketch community, but If you showcase the best, people will want to see more. NXNE and similar events can really help the culture by giving an act a place to go, rather than the rooms that are so often populated by other comics or supportive friends.
What shows are you looking forward to seeing at NXNE?
I’m going to see the BB King doc (The Life of Riley) and any Bluegrass music I can find.
There will be a crossover of audiences. What should somebody who’s never seen sketch comedy be prepared for?
Stories. That’s what we depend on. We’ll present you with a situation and take you somewhere unexpected. Then, we’ll do that again. Hopefully.
Describe your comedy to somebody who’s never seen you before.
We’re two boring guys in suits who make deep assumptions about you and use Powerpoint to teach you stupid things you don’t need to know. So….we’re like your office environment. But no one at work is going to teach you how to make the ultimate sandwich.
You’re playing the Best of The Fest show. Declaring anything “The Best” is a bold claim – What is something Deadpan Powerpoint does better than anybody else?
Very little. I mean we do “very little” better than anyone else. We can’t jump around. We don’t use props or costumes. We have to be well-written, tightly prepared, and well-presented. Flexibility is not part of our act, so we’re going to give you as much as a classic sketch troupe does, but without emoting or even really moving our feet. What we’re great at is concept and commitment.
In the span of 3 months you’ll have played 2 great festivals – Sketchfest and NXNE – What’s next for Deadpan Powerpoint?
Nothing. That’s the whole damned point. We may try to perform in other towns, or do some web shorts, but we’ve pretty much done this thing and enjoyed it. And we don’t feel like we earn our place on the scene anymore. We’ve certainly delivered every time we’ve done Sketchfest, but other acts simply work harder than we do, and we’re feeling like we don’t earn our place the way we used to. So, we’re going to commit ritual suicide on stage.
Don’t miss your opportunity to catch an encore performance by 3 award-winning troupes from the 2013 festival in: