Friday, January 1, 2016

Spotlight On...Zach Zucker and Viggo Venn

Names: Zach Zucker & Viggo Venn

ZZ: New York, New York
VV: Oslo, Norway

ZZ & VV: Ecole Phlippe Gaulier in √Čtampes, France

Favorite Credits:
ZZ: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Neil Hamburger Live in LA, Crash Test with Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel at The UCB Theatre, Top Story! Weekly at iO West and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia..
VV: Edinburgh Fringe, Copenhagen Improv Festival, Amsterdam Improv Festival, Playroom Festival, The Scenic Art Festival, performing with my comedy group ‘Lausungene’ and being the Norwegian Champion of Theatre Sports

Why theatre?:
ZZ: Because theatre allows us to escape from all of the heaviness in our world and relish in the lightness of fun and fantasy. It’s also one of the last remaining experiences where human beings can directly connect and communicate with other human beings.
VV: The more technology infiltrates our culture the less opportunities we have to truly be with one another. We’re all a part of something bigger than ourselves and theatre allows us to tap into whatever that is.

Tell us about Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop:
ZZ: Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop is a comedy show where two human adults get to unleash their most innocent, ridiculous sides that society tells us to push down. We’re under so much pressure to be good all of the time and that sucks.
VV: Exactly. Our show is all about having fun being bad and owning it. We constantly worry about how we look or how we’re perceived. But the truth is nobody knows why we’re here and we’re all idiots. So let’s all be idiots!

What inspired you to create Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop?:
VV: I came to Edinburgh for the first time three years ago and saw Dr. Brown’s award-winning show Befrdfgth. It totally blew my mind. I remember thinking ‘Wow…Clown. It’s so sensitive. It shows humanity—it’s so much more than just being funny.’
ZZ: Ahh man, his show is absolutely beautiful! Dr. Brown’s show Because was the first clown show that I ever saw and it was revolutionary. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved it. It was so different than anything else I’d ever seen.
VV: Seeing that show changed my life. I ended up studying with Dr. Brown and eventually meeting Zach at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. We became best friends right away so it was an easy decision to make a show together.
ZZ: Philippe Gaulier was the catalyst that ignited our artistic fire.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
ZZ: Theatre that isn’t pushing an agenda on the audience. There’s such a weird stigma that you have to ‘say something’ so people jam unsubtle messages down your throats. I much prefer the route of light, fun and imagination-stimulating performances that activate our fantasy.
VV: I love theatre where the actors are alive and listening to the audience. Serious theatre is so boring. When you have actors who are at their maximum level of happiness together on stage, that’s when the magic begins to show and the performers vibrate.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
VV: I’m already working with Zach Zucker!
ZZ: *blushes* Stop it!

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
ZZ: Nautilus and Kraken by Trygve Wakenshaw and ANYTHING by Dr. Brown. To clarify, that’s not the name of his show. Any time he’s performing, go and see it.
VV: Spaghetti For Breakfast by Sam Simmons is another incredible show. So is The Herbert In Proper Job by Spencer Jones. And if you find yourself in Norway go check out Det Andre Teatret in Oslo!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
VV: Jim Carrey would play me and the movie would be called "No Mask"
ZZ: Chris Lilley would play me because he’d do a great job making fun of me and it would be called "That Guy"

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:
VV:  I would go back to 1974 to see Les Assiettes, a clown show by our teacher Philippe Gaulier. He’s the funniest man I’ve ever met.
ZZ: I’m going to have to agree with that. No footage of any of his performances exists. And from all of the stories we’ve heard, it was a masterpiece.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: 
VV: As a young Norwegian I watched every season of "The OC" so I’m pretty stoked about being in California.
ZZ: I love chapstick. No matter what store I walk into, I always find myself in the chapstick aisle buying more and more flavors I’ll never need.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be ____?:
VV: Building a snowman in Norway.
ZZ: There really isn’t anything else I could see myself doing. Mainly because nothing else worked.. And I mean it really didn’t work.
VV: Yeah we both dropped out of university-
ZZ: I dropped out of three separate schools. I’m three times the dropout Kanye West ever was!

What’s up next?:
VV: We’ve got three more shows in Los Angeles. We’re at UCB on the 11th and Downtown at Basic Flowers on the 14th and 15th before I go back to France. We’re also filming a TV show in LA at the moment. It’s very exciting!
ZZ: Yes we’re filming all of January before we split up again. I’m off to Australia in February to perform at The Adelaide Fringe Festival. I’ll be doing another two-man show with my friend Tom Walker called Zach & Tom: Best Friends at Tuxedo Cat.
VV: Then we’re back in LA in April to perform and finish filming before we return to Europe. We’re performing at The Brighton Fringe, potentially Prague Fringe and heading back to Edinburgh.
ZZ: We’ve also got shows lined up all over in between! We’ll be in London, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Bristol, Amsterdam, Dublin and anywhere else that’s willing to have us!

For more on Zach & Viggo check out and