By Jason Tanamor
When Slovin & Allen come to your town, don’t expect them to take phone calls about frivolous lawsuits. That’s because, they are not an attorney team from Minnesota. Although they like to joke that they are.
Leo Allen, one half of the comedy group, recently shared some insight with Zoiks! Online magazine.
Q - Do people confuse Slovin & Allen as an attorney team in Minnesota? Like phone calls asking about suing someone for rear ending them?
A - Yes, that is why we rent expensive office space in downtown Minnesota.
Q - In your guys’ act, you use a lot of props and do a lot of skits. Who were your heroes growing up?
A - I like the way you seamlessly tie together two sentences the average person might think have nothing to do with each other. My hero was Amelia Earhart, Slovin's was Herman Goering.
Q - Is there a certain comedy team you base your act off of?
A – Yes, Shields and Yarnell.
Q - I understand that you two wrote for SNL. Is that why your act consists of short skits?
A - I think our "act" consists of short "skits" because when things get longer, they tend to quickly become unbearable, for both the audience and us.
Q - How did your act develop into what it is today?
A - By constantly doing things, and studying comedy, storytelling, and music theory.
Q - Do you like performing or writing better?
A - People always try to make you choose one of those things, so no.
Q - Are you two actually lovers of slapping hams and turkeys? If so, have you ever considered other types of foods, say watermelons?
A - Whether the "characters" we play during the "Turkey Slapper" skit are lovers or not is entirely up to the viewer. No, we never considered any other type of food. Not ever.
Q - I saw your version of "Who’s on first?" with actual ball players’ names substituted in. How do you know something is going to be funny before trying it out?
A - You never know whether anything is going to be funny before you try it out. That is one of the downsides to being a comedian.
Q - Who gave you your first break?
A - The first writing job we were hired for was an Internet show called "This Is Not A Test," which ended up also being a live show that was hosted by Marc Maron. The writing staff was Slovin & Allen, The Upright Citizens Brigade, Todd Barry, Mike Lee, Danno Sullivan, Nick McKinney and Vito Viscomi, who were also the producers. I probably left some people out.
Q - Any advice for aspiring comedians?
A - Write and perform a lot. Have deadlines. Don't pay money to get advice from "comedians," especially when you are a broke aspiring comic.
Q - Have you thought of taking the N’Sync road and working on solo projects to see which one of you is more talented?
A - Yes.
Q - What is your career highlight?
A - I met Henny Youngman, and someone took my picture with him.
Q - Do you think comedy teams have to work harder in stand-up than solo acts? If so, have you ever been turned down for a gig or job because of your act?
A - No. It's all different. You're never really competing with anyone. I do stand-up wherever they'll have me, but Slovin & Allen isn't and never was a "club" act. We do our own one-hour show in a more theatrical setting, so people that come know what they're in for.
Q - What would you two be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up?
A - Slovin would be a Navy Seal, and I'd be dead.
Q - What are you working on now?
A - We're writing a movie, and trying to also perform around town, together and separately. Also, I hope we get a website. It's so sad we don't have one yet. Why won't the government allow it!!??
Q - Anything you would like to add?
A - People in cars shouldn't honk at bicyclists, because you have no idea how loud it sounds.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."
By Jason Tanamor