You can tell that Ronnie Feldman, Matt Hovde, and Tom Flanigan are improvisers because they wear lab coats. They also write scenes based on Pi and Darwin’s theory of Evolution. One time, they even performed a song about litmus tests. See? Improvisers.
What you may not have noticed is that Ronnie, Matt and Tom are members of a comedy group called The Galileo Players. Founded in 1997, the group now boasts over twenty resident and touring alumni, including current cast members Meagan O’Brien Flanigan and Megan Wilkins. The Galileo Players’ comedy orbits around scientific laws and philosophical topics. They perform throughout the country at colleges, festivals, corporate events and training workshops. Most recently, the Players were featured at the 2010 Chicago Short Comedy and Film Festival with a video from the “Science Digest” series in which quirky scientist Mathew Arden interviews other characters involved with science and philosophy.
“We initially created the ‘Science Digest’ purely out of creative expression,” said Feldman, a producer and co-founder of The Galileo Players. Feldman discovered that the webisode format worked well for their series. “The ‘Science Digest’ served as a great calling card to showcase our capability and got us some meetings.”
Feldman noted that beyond working well as shorts on the internet, webisodes like “Science Digest” are excellent catalysts for fleshing out longer programs for television and expanding the kernel of an idea. However, the key is in the posting. “We initially generated a good amount of interest from the scientific community but posted them all over the place and did not do a great job of focusing viewership in one place, so we do not have great stats.” Feldman added that even though online views aren’t extensive, each webisode is a finished product that can be handed to networks or organizations as marketing tools. The series is essentially an example of a successful comedic experiment for The Galileo Players.
There is definitely a science – and an art? – to internet comedy. “Short and funny is always popular because it’s so easily digestible,” says Feldman. But above all, he philosophizes that “you’re always better off not forcing the format onto the idea. If your idea has enough merit and lends itself to a webisode, then start writing and see where it goes. I think its best to always follow the idea.”
Trust him. He’s wearing a lab coat.
Troupe: Galileo Players