Fresh from their performance of their sketch-who-dunnit-murder-mystery, ‘Bill Melchior is Dead’, Until Pluto’s Patric Ciervo (Patric Writes Sketches) and Peter Gerbron have put together a new inter-connected set of sketches for your enjoyment entitled, ‘…Still Not A Better World’ which premieres tonight as part of Philly Sketchfest Presents’ December showcase featuring Cynthia Marie and host stand-up comedian, Alex Pearlman. Philly Sketchfest had the opportunity to chat with Patric & Peter before their show tonight at 10:00pm to talk about journeys through time, how they piece together their shows, and what’s next for them in 2016…
Philly Sketchfest – For the uninitiated, please tell us a little about yourselves and your roles in Until Pluto.
Peter Gerbron – We are just two normal, blue-blooded Americans that love comedy.
Patric Ciervo – Yeah, our roles in Until Pluto are pretty much the same. We write everything in our shows.
Peter Gerbron – Seriously, we are no different than anybody reading this with the exception that we write and act in great sketches that will live on long after everyone on this planet is dead and gone. So in that way, we are immortal.
Patric Ciervo – And we also stress equally about making practical effect mechanisms for poop.
Philly Sketchfest – ‘…Still Not A Better World’ takes place throughout history. What was your inspiration to use history as a tee-off point for sketch?
Peter Gerbron – When we met up after our last show, we started spit-balling and then spent the next two hours cleaning up the Panera bread we made a mess of. Then we came up with some ideas.
Patric Ciervo – We wanted to write sketches that existed in the same universe. I think originally we had two ideas. A show that takes place in the future or a show that takes place in the past.
Peter Gerbron – For some reason, it became a, “what if instead of this happening like it did…this is what actually happened” thing.
Patric Ciervo – We ultimately thought writing about real people and events would be more fun.
Philly Sketchfest – Any sketches or characters from history that didn’t make it into the show that you wish you could have included?
Peter Gerbron – Personally, I think we could have been tougher on Russian historical figures. Thanks, Obama!
Philly Sketchfest – Your last show, ‘Bill Melchior is Dead’ had a murder-mystery through-line throughout. What draws the two you into narrative sketch comedy?
Patric Ciervo – I just like sketch shows that have a through line or all existing in the same world. I also think we try to do a narrative to help us write things. At least for me I know that I have a hard time generating premises. But when I say I am going to use a theme like history or murder mystery it becomes much easier.
Philly Sketchfest – How does Until Pluto decide what sketches would be shot for video as opposed to live material?
Peter Gerbron – The way this show’s digital content was chosen was by understanding the sketch’s limitations for stage. ‘The More You Know’ spoof was a commercial, and the way we wrote it worked best through editing shots quickly.
Philly Sketchfest – We heard you almost lost one of your performers in a shoot you had for this show? Tell us about that.
Peter Gerbron – We were shooting a George Washington sketch in Washington Square Park last Sunday when I noticed Nicole Yates, who was playing a dead soldier, hunched over between takes. I kind of mentioned to Patric, “wouldn’t it be hilarious if Nicole just started yakking in her costume in the middle of the park?!” People were like gathering around and watching what they probably thought was some sort of PBS reenactment, and one of the actors was full on puking in the grass. I could hardly contain myself. She was a rock star though. All she cared about was getting the shot. Oh, she went to the hospital right after her scene and some more puking. Thanks Nicole!
Patric Ciervo – Yeah that was insane. I was thankful Meg Marron, who’s a nurse, was there because she really took control of ‘saying when’ as far as excusing Nicole for the day. After she had left and we heard she was fine the rest of us who were still filming started laughing at the irony of casting her as the dead soldier.
Philly Sketchfest – If your sketch team were to die in a horrible, albeit tragic accident similar to one that befell say, The Miami Sound Machine or acclaimed Baltimore sketch group, RollerSketch, would you be okay with being buried together and what would the tombstone say?
Patric Ciervo – The tombstone would say, ‘Here lies Patric and Peter of the sketch group Until Pluto. They made Marilyn Monroe shit on stage.’
Peter Gerbron – I don’t know exactly what happened to those guys, but yes if be buried with Patric if he’d have me. I’m a fitful corpse I’ve been told.
Patric Ciervo – By buried together do you mean next to each other or same grave? Because I am fine with next to each other, but not the same grave. I need my space.
Philly Sketchfest – Peter, this question is for Patric. Patric, what is it like working with Patric of Patric Writes Sketches, your other sketch project?
Patric Ciervo – Patric? Oh he’s the best. Though myself and the rest of the cast are starting to notice the inside jokes he puts in for himself in the sketches. For example, naming Bruce Springsteen’s counterpart Mary (because that’s the main name for women he uses in songs) even though the audience will never know because Mary’s name is never mentioned. Patric also smells nice.
Philly Sketchfest – What sketch groups are you currently enjoy right now? Local or national.
Peter Gerbron – The Flat Earth is the gold standard for me in Philly, their stuff is so darn smart. There are so many great groups though, Goat Rodeo, Matt & Jacquie come to mind. Key and Peele and what Nathan Fielder is doing on his show ‘Nathan For You’. I love comedy that exposes people or truths or somehow creates an environment for people to be bullied because inside I’m just Biff from Back to the Future- that is, scared and alone and in serious need of love at all times.
Patric Ciervo – Flat Earth never fails to entertain me or make me say “I wish I thought of that”. There are so many groups in Philly that after leaving a show makes me want to work harder as a writer. Goat Rodeo, Barbara Bush, and Matt and Jacquie. I love ‘Late-Night’ comedy and my favorite host of all time is Craig Ferguson even though he’s not hosting that show anymore. I thought he was so naturally funny as a host and an interviewer. After watching that then going back to other late night shows I had a better sense of how scripted the other shows were. I have also just seen Book of Mormon as well as started watching Peep Show on Netflix. Both of those shows are so funny and clever. They make me want to be a better writer.
Philly Sketchfest – Patric, this question is for Peter. Peter, if you could eat a sandwich with any of the historical figures from your show, who would it be and why would they eat a sandwich with you? And what kind of sandwich would it be? We promise this isn’t a job interview.
Peter Gerbron – Probably a chicken caprese with Saddam Hussein because the version of Saddam that we’ve created is a jovial one and he’d dine with me because I’m the new guy in hell, and everyone else is already so sick of his stories about fucking with the West and Wolf Blitzer for so long. And in reality I always find myself talking to the guy who wants to tell me how great he is. Always stuck in a corner listening to dudes list their accomplishments. Probably what gets me into hell in the first place. Getting deep here.
Philly Sketchfest – What’s next for Until Pluto? Where can we see you next? What are your plans?
Peter Gerbron – We are planning more dates for this show and hope to submit it for a run at Spank at UCB in New York. We also have another digital sketch we will shoot and release in January.
Patric Ciervo – What Pete said.
You can see Patric & Peter and their brand new show, ‘…Still Not A Better World’ tonight with Cynthia Marie’s Farewell Show/National Sketch Writing Month anthology, ‘And Stay Out!’ and host, stand-up comedian, Alex Pearlman, TONIGHT, December 18th at The Playground of the Adrienne Theater at 10:00pm Tickets are $10 and available online via TicketFly, Keyword – Until Pluto.