Another group we’re excited to check out at Sketchfest comes from the far side of Canada, the Ryan & Amy show. Ryan Steele and Amy Goodmurphy make a wonderfully weird and creative team that has put together wickedly funny videos in addition to sketch comedy. I talked to them about getting started as a duo and how live performance compares to making cult videos.
Before Tindr, the best place to swipe right and left for your date was the bar. Ryan and Amy also met in a bar, though they found their connection in comedy, rather than love. They tell me that they met nine years ago in a bar where Ryan was working. “Amy came in for a drink, yelled at him, Ryan sassed her back, and they both realized immediately that they were on the same level of comedic line-crossing. It was love at first inappropriate work harassment,” they report.
At the time, Ryan had a second “job,” a live sketch comedy show called The Ryan Steele Show. He invited Amy to play a character in it. After she sucked up the courage to appear on stage, it was her first live comedic performance.
Largely, the duo sticks to sketch comedy, though they tell me that during their lives shows, when they forget their lines, “improvisation kicks in.” Most of their shows end up “a lot of improv as well as a little bit of stand up.” They draw on their own life experiences as well as current issues for their material.
Because they don’t usually come to Montreal, Ryan and Amy might best be known for their videos. Some are lip syncs to famous scenes on TV (a lipsync to Party of Five), others parodies, and even a super hero raver who transforms into his super self on E. I was curious how they compared performing live vs. creating a comedy video. “There is definitely nothing better than the reaction of a live audience laughing at you. But when you’re live you get one chance up there to knock the jokes out of the park and that’s it,” they explain. “With videos, we can do a scene over and over until we are 100% happy with it. I don’t think we have a preference but it’s pretty cool that you can make a video and hundreds of thousands of people can see it around the world.”
Of course, they love performing live. “The best part of performing is diving deep into a character and making an audience laugh until they pee a little,” they say. “We also always make sure to really stop and feel the natural high after a good show.”
When it comes to comedy, the two of them are not afraid to go one step beyond into the weird, the freaky, the funky, and the unknown. “There is obviously a line that shouldn’t be crossed in our opinion,” they say when I ask them for their guiding comedy philosophy. “That being said, we like to get damn close to it… and sometimes a touch past it.”
As West Coasters, I always want to know if they have anyone they recommend who we in Montreal might not know. “One show that we often partake in and always has great players is a Vancouver solo sketch show called The Hero Show. It’s creator Cameron Macleod is a good friend of ours and former cast mate in The Ryan Steele Show. Anything this kid touches is gold,” they say.
As this is their first trip to perform here, it’s no surprise that The Ryan and Amy Show is super excited to be in Sketchfest. “We’ve heard nothing but great things about the festival and we’ve always wanted to be a part of it. It’s definitely a long way but most definitely worth it.”
The Ryan and Amy Show performs alongside The Flat Earth and Soul Decision at the Montreal Sketchfest on Thursday May 12 at 10 p.m. at the Theatre St. Catherine. $12 Tickets HERE.