Lemon Otter is making a name for herself as a funny lady to be reckoned with. As part of the Monty Python-like comedy troupe, Thon Colin, she’s produced some of the funniest online shorts this side of a Funny or Die video. Now Otter is trying to make a name for herself in America, even looking to Kickstarter to produce her first comedy movie.
Tell America who you are and what you do?
Well, we’re a bunch of friends (Lemon, Sam, Gabs, plus others) from the UK who have known each other for a million years and what we’ve always done is make funny films/songs/sketches together. These days we mostly make improvised comedy films – sometimes they’re only a couple of minutes long and sometimes they’re more like 20 minute ‘episodes’, but the focus is always on what we find funny.
Is it true that all the best comics come out of the UK?
No, that’s not true at all. Just think what comedy would be today without Steve Martin or Woody Allen. Plus there’s Louis CK, Tim and Eric and similar folk pushing boundaries right now too… However there does seem to be a huge wealth of British comics who have really dominated TV comedy over the years, possibly simply because the Monty Python gang got there first, so to speak.
Do you think Americans will appreciate your sense of humor, as well as those back home do?
Hopefully, yes! We see a clear link between our stuff and Christopher Guest’s work, in that it’s all based around improvised dialogue and a sense of expecting-the-unexpected. It seems as though American audiences ‘get’ mockumentary-style humor (such as the American Office and Reno 911), more so perhaps than UK audiences. And if Americans like Monty Python… Hurrah!
In addition to continuing to make online sketches, you’re also getting a feature film up. Can you tell me a bit about that?
The feature film kind of happened by accident. Because it’s improvised, it was hard to tell whether we were making something movie- length or another short until we went through all the footage and realised there was a story there, and that it was going to end up being over an hour long. That’s often how it happens: We’re never totally sure exactly what we’re making until about halfway through the editing process.
To attract financiers to a feature film, have you found you’ve been pressured into attracting big name stars into cameoing and so on?
Well, it’s early days for us just now so we haven’t felt that pressure yet! We do have a list of great actors who we’d love to invite to take part though, so it’s possible that that could attract financial backing… Or perhaps the financial support would attract the big names?!
If there was a big name you could get onboard your film, to play a part in a sketch, who would it be?
Ohhhhh, tough question.. John Cleese is welcome to get on our board anytime. He’s a brilliant man and a real gem- he helped me with my degree and Masters for the princely sum of one zoetrope and a vat of wine. We’d truly love to work with him. Plus of course Christopher Guest and his pals are welcome to pop over for tea and scones at their earliest convenience.
Are you planning on releasing a DVD or Blu-ray of your online shorts?
We don’t have any plans to do so just yet, our aim right now is to attract some sort of support from a good production company who can help us make the leap from YouTube to TV. Our problem is that we’re terrible at admin and promoting our wares, simply because we’re just too busy making the films.
Where can people see your stuff?
People are most welcome to visit our home base at www.thoncolinfilms.co.uk where they can read more about us, see some funny stuff, and get in touch. We’re all looking for pen pals so feel free to drop us a line….