Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary
Loaded and Ready to Run

Nick Halme | 6 Jul 2010 13:25
Happy Anniversary - RSS 2.0

The group's most viewed videos to date have been, maybe aptly, simple jokes. After filming a sketch where the group joked about stupid viral videos, they actually went out and made them. Graham's video "Epic Nunchuck Fail" - a classic nutshot gag and an ingenious follow-up slip on a skateboard - has almost 272,000 views on YouTube and was shown on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Meanwhile, Paul has established an entire YouTube channel called "Things on my Head," complete with an independent following and over 500,000 views, where he balances objects on his head and stares at the camera for exactly 1 minute and 21 seconds. "We never expected that anyone outside our group would even watch, let alone enjoy our videos," says Matt Wiggins. "That there are 'fans' out there is something we're still amazed by to this day."

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They're surrounded by a community of their own that existed long before The Escapist signed them on, and, last year, their charity marathon Desert Bus for Hope raised over $140,000 for Penny Arcade's Child's Play fund. "I don't know how or why it turned out this way, but LRR has seemed to have lucked into one of the coolest fan bases I have ever seen," says Paul. For the unfamiliar, Desert Bus is part of an un-released Sega CD game created by Penn and Teller, and is perhaps the most agonizingly boring game ever created. The crew took turns guiding an ever-so-slightly drifting bus through a cruelly repeating backdrop of the Arizona desert for over five days as donations kept pouring in.

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Saturday morning we head out to the office for a full day of meetings and shooting. The capital of B.C. sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. An 18th century rival to Vancouver as a thriving port city, Victoria is an old place. In surreal fashion, the LRR office sits snugly amid ancient looming cathedral spires and old stone churches. "Yeah, there are a lot of churches around here, aren't there?" Matt remarks, as if noticing them for the first time. Entire districts of this city are home to huge brick monoliths astride cobblestone streets and iron streetlamps that would not seem out of place in turn of the century London. The only difference is that here, in modern-day Victoria, there is a building wherein young people make dick jokes on a regular basis.

Business consists of meeting around an impromptu conference table, end-capped by a whiteboard with the week's shooting schedule. The LRR crew run a tight meeting, something I can appreciate from experience - it's hard to stay on the rails in a room full of people with things to say. "Our weekly meetings have developed a lot over time," Paul tells me. "When we first started, it was just Graham and I talking about video ideas when we were hanging out, but once we started taking it more seriously and rented our own office, it became obvious that we needed a little more structure."

Following new business for the week, they break out a script that Graham and Kathleen had been working on, pulling it up on Google Wave, and the whole crew starts to dissect it. Kathleen elaborates, "We try to leapfrog across each other's concepts, and we rely on each other to make sure that each punchline is tight and polished." After the script is hammered down and stage notes are written in, they decide what elements need to be shot today and what can be done with graphics.

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