Out of the Toilet: SIFL AND OLLY SHOW

Some shows are just ahead of their time.

It always strikes me so odd that this can happen. It takes HUGE balls (the metaphorical kind – not necessarily the literal kind, ladies) to take creative risks… but when something is presented AND FAILS that in roughly 10 years time that same concept/idea/tone can become the keystone of an entire channel/media’s content.

I can think of no better example of this exact situation than the topic of today’s Out of the Toilet post than MTV’s Sifl and Olly Show.

For those who don’t know of the sock puppet duo, imagine Wayne’s World but FAR less manic. The basic concept of the Sifl and Olly Show is that a pair of friends run a zero budget variety show from a rickety studio in some undisclosed seedy place. Each show they’re introduced by the easily distracted Chester, a childlike stoner burnout who they mock occasionally. They hold tight to a few segments that they return to over the arc of each episode – An interview or two, taking calls from the public, running a QVC style program for Precious Roy, and closing the show with a musical number. Also, to fill time In between these segments, they would air old music videos and sometimes dance in front of them via the magic of green screen.

in fact – it was ALL through the magic of green screen.

The show was cheaply made on the quick, and always looked like it was a week away from disappearing entirely. Despite the loose, conversational, and sophmoric tone of the show, it was surprisingly cerebral and focused. It was contrived and polished in it’s garish unfinished edges.

Just check out some of their original episodes:

It was Adult Swim years before Adult Swim existed. It was a perfect Youtube smash before Youtube existed. No one got it, and it still holds the honor of being one of the lowest rated shows in MTV’s history.

Why should you care about this? Good question.

The show is the creation of two amazing folks: life-long friends Liam Lynch and Matt Crocco. You may not know them by name, but they’ve had a hand in some amazing productions over the years – including a lot of the wackier early work of Jack Black in Tenacious D and School of Rock, Sara Silverman’s film and TV work, and the music (not the theme song but everything else) from Clone High.

Liam though is one of my personal Internet Heroes. His early work as a one-man-band style producer/creator is AMAZING. There is no limit or bounds to his imagination or creativity. Just watch this quick behind-the-scenes video they produced for Sifl and Olly’s new webseries.

Amazing, right? After he scripts out and performs the episode – radio style – he puppets all the characters HIMSELF in front of a green screen, then personally edits the episode together with graphics he made HIMSELF! ALL FROM HIS GARAGE!

But what’s best about him, is that he’s unafraid to take the risk and fall flat on his face. He’s the pioneer of zero-budget high-production value. Just check out his podcast, Lynchland.

He’s just out there doing what he thinks will be funny and entertaining. Is it 100% hilarious or 100% focused? No. But it looks insanely professional for the time of when it was produced and the limited abilities of the equipment he used to create it. He’s accomplishing EVERYTHING that I hope to accomplish whenever I pick up a camera. At the time, his podcast had over 90,000 subscribers (now rather paltry by Youtube audience standards), and now it seems he’s back to work on a new series of Sifl and Olly Show webisodes!

Check ‘em out!

The first 8 have been aired on Machinima’s channel, and the upcoming season will air on Nerdist!

So get out there and consume, folks! Subscribe to Liam’s channel on Youtube, and watch the rest of the original episodes there! If interest is piqued, MTV may finally release a DVD of the entire series!