Poking fun at the human experience: BYUtv's 'Studio C' is thriving in its 3rd season

Published: Monday, Nov. 25 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Jason Gray: “I like it when my mother-in-law comes to town and people stop me. I was going to be a dentist and obviously I didn’t go that route, so she was probably a little disappointed. ‘Oh my daughter married this actor.’ But then she notices (the fans) and oh, this is like a legitimate deal. I think it brings her a little more pride and contentment with her son-in-law’s career choice.”

DN: Are you surprised by the show's success?

JG: "Yes, especially by families. We didn’t set out to write this show that families would embrace. I thought college kids would like it, then maybe a few families, but it’s really been families that have embraced the show."

ME: "It makes sense to me that we would get a strong response (from families) because there aren’t a lot of people trying to do this sort of thing — comedy that is open to everyone. Pixar is a good example of an institution that has managed to have a really broad audience. It’s very rare to find a comedy series or group that is trying to keep things broad like that. It makes sense, but still surprising."

DN: The "Studio C" cast is essentially made up of members of the 2011-12 cast of "Divine Comedy," so the cast is well acquainted. What do you remember about the first time you met each other?

JG: "I came down from BYU-Idaho and didn't know 'Divine Comedy' was such a big deal. I went in thinking it was a small club and was blown away because there was about 300 people watching auditions. … I didn’t make the group at first and I was really bummed. I was like, I’m going to go see a movie and forget about it. And no joke, I sit down in the theater and the whole group walks in. I thought, 'You have got to be kidding me!’ ”

DN: What has been the biggest challenge along the way?

Jared Shore: "It's been a different challenge each season. The show has three different elements: pre-production (writing, finding right individuals, prepping the technical aspects), production and post production (edit it all together, package it up, make sure it has a nice finish on the end to air). We’ve struggled early on in the aspect of how the organization of the show works. No one in the area had done a show like this before. No one had a lot of experience with comedy, let alone a sketch comedy show. Everyone is trying to figure out how to pull this thing off right. Right now we're prepping for the fourth season. We are constantly trying to think of new ideas. It's a juggle, even after you shoot something. Your work is never done."

ME: "I had a dream about us having a writer's meeting. … You don't get to breathe a sigh of relief until it is done, because you can still add jokes in editing. Working on that many things at once can make you a little batty, but it's still cool."

JG: (Responding to a reference to the 2010 movie, "Inception") "I wish somebody would come plant some ideas for funny sketches in my mind."

DN: How are you able to come up with funny, clean material without resorting to crudeness?

Whitney Call: "We write things we laugh at. … We started out making sure it was clean. In our campus group, it was geared more toward the experiences of our college audience, BYU and the culture in Provo. As soon as we took it to 'Studio C,' it became very clear, we wanted this to be a show where Mormons and non-Mormons alike could watch every sketch, understand every joke, and be able to share it with everyone they knew. At that point, it wasn’t a struggle for us to make sure jokes were clean or kind because we had been raised on that kind of writing. Instead it was how can we make this person on the East Coast who doesn’t even know what a Mormon is watch this and not feel like it’s a niche humor kind of thing. It’s been beneficial for us to see how many people we can reach. Matt has a friend whose brother is in prison and his favorite show is 'Studio C.' You know you are reaching a wide demographic if your grandma back home or someone in prison both can watch the same show and like it."

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