Everyone knows that villains always are more interesting than heroes, and Loui-villians will have a chance to get a double dose of dastardly on Tuesday at Kaiju, with a special Villains Edition of Kaiju’s comedy show “Thunderdome” and the premiere of the trailer for the upcoming Louisville-based web series “Hench Hunt.”
“Thunderdome” is a monthly series that picks a theme and pits seven comedians against each other as they perform a set of comedy based on the theme. It’s a part of Kaijuesdays, the protean Tuesday night comedic offering at the Germantown bar.
“Hench Hunt” is a new web series that takes the world of super villains and hench persons, and squeezes it into the format of “The Bachelor.”
Insider sat down with the creators of “Hench Hunt” and one of its stars, Emilie Parker Strange, who also helps runs Kaijuesdays.
That overlap is indicative of the teeming and fecund Louisville comedy scene, and it was that interconnectivity that led to the creation of “Hench Hunt,” though it’s hard to say exactly where the idea started.
Maybe the idea started with Brian Barrow, the owner of Destination Comics and one of the co-owners of The Destination Network, a web-based content provider that, among other things, produces “Bagged and Bored,” another nerdcentric Louisville web series.
Or maybe it was LOLville, a sketch comedy site started by Strange and a few others.
Somewhere in there, you have to take into account “The Sketchy Show,” a monthly live sketch comedy show at Kaiju started by Gracie Taylor, who also appears in “Hench Hunt.”
Strange describes the web of connections.
“If you were to do a flow chart of Louisville comedy, oh my god, it would be like pieces of yarn making the different connections — like the serial killer board,” she says.
Barrow talked about his corner of the birth of “Hench Hunt.”
“It kind of started off as a dating show. It was going to be a one-off sketch of one of those old-style dating shows with the three people and one villain,” he explains.
Enter Grant Vance, a director, writer and filmmaker. His contribution included the transformation of the dating show into a longer form reality show based on “The Bachelor.” Other performers, comics and writers were invited to collaborate on the project — many of whom had started discussing sketch comedy on a Louisville sketch comedy Facebook page Strange had started.
As collaborators coalesced into a group, the project started to gel.
“We started to think, ‘Do we wanna have a story, or do a straight parody of ‘The Bachelor,’ or do we want to add a level of suspense?,'” says Vance. “We narrowed it down to a story that takes place during the season finale of ‘Hench Hunt.'”
So the story skips the preamble of all those opening episodes that winnow out the chaff, a process that is instantly familiar to anyone who has ever watched a season of “The Bachelor.” The web series will consist of five seven-minute episodes, takes place during the final showdown, and there are only four contestants left. But you’ll see plenty of other would-be hench persons.
“We were talking about a lot of ‘previously on’ stuff to flesh out what happened off the page, before the season finale,” Vance adds.
You’ll have to wait to see the series, but you can get a sneak peek when the trailer premieres, and catch an excellent comedy show that has a great thematic tie-in, “Thunderdome’s Villains.”
“Thunderdome” is part of Kaijuesday, a weekly series with a rotating roster of themed shows. Sometimes it’s “Thunderdome,” sometimes it’s “Argue Kidding Me,” a humorous debate show, sometimes it’s “Third Degree Burns,” a roast-off. That’s just to name a few.
Strange discusses the origins of the evening.
“Kaijuesdays started about year and a half ago,” she says. “Greg Welsh and Jake Reber approached Kaiju about doing a weekly free comedy show on a night the bar was pretty dead and didn’t have anybody coming to it.”
At the time, Kaiju wasn’t doing any business on Tuesdays, so they were happy to give weird comedy a shot. At first, the night was sparsely attended.
“We used to perform for just the comics who were on the show, maybe one or two bar stragglers, and now there is a consistent pretty dedicated audience every Tuesday,” says Strange.
She was the winner of the first “Thunderdome,” and after being a consistent performer, she eventually started to work as a producer for the evening and pitch ideas for new shows.
But not every idea is a hit.
“The nature of Kaiju shows — some are successful and some are not,” says Strange. “One of mine is still going, and another one has been abandoned.”
Not that it always matters to the audience.
“What we hear most of the time is they show up not even knowing what the show is, they just know that it’s a Kaijuesday show and it’s gonna be funny,” Strange says.
The action starts at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at Kaiju, 1004 E. Oak St. Admission is a suggested $5.