Secret Pants is a fitting group to kick off WitOut’s new Spotlight on a Group Series. A fixture in the Philly sketch scene, Secret Pants has been filming and performing live sketch comedy since 2004, have created some of the most memorable moments from Bedtime Stories (now The Theme Show) are regulars in the yearly Philly Sketch Fest and have produced their own sketch show extravaganza Welcome to the Terrordome as well as multiple successful shows at Philly Improv Theater. They found viral success with their man on the street gameshow Bush or Batman, and their Booty Shorts for Men sketch was mentioned as a favorite by Justin Timberlake on his Twitter. We asked members of Secret Pants some questions about the group, and they appointed member Larry Wiechecki to answer them.
Witout: How and when did you get together?
Larry Wiechecki: Secret Pants has been together since Spring 2004. A majority of the members had taken a comedy writing class at Temple together. Sam, Brian Kelly and I(Larry) didn’t go to Temple. BK and Sam both had friends who were in the class and invited them to a meeting. I lived with BK at the time, he invited me. The first initial meetings were basically meet and greets. Bryce and Steve both had butt cuts, Brian Craig may have had one too. Steve definitely had a visor. We started out with 13 members, we are down to 7.
WO: How have you seen your style evolve in the time you’ve been together?
LW: I don’t think our style has evolved too much as far as our ideas and writing. With all of the years of experience together, we know what works and what doesn’t. As well as who’s good at doing what. In that sense, we may have matured/evolved.
WO: What are some of your favorite shows or moments from shows?
LW: For me, it was easily our 5th Anniversary show at the Actor’s Studio. All of us had been drinking and we sat backstage, we were behind a screen, making each other laugh and generally having a good time. We were very loose that night, going out of our way to make each other laugh while performing. During a sketch Brian Kelly surprised me with a Greek accent and I could barely deliver my lines I was laughing so hard. Also, any Bedtime Stories at the Shubin was always a lot of fun and not because of the show. Not that the show wasn’t fun, but hanging out with the other performers in the basement is/was my favorite part of doing shows.
WO: Do you approach your live sketches and filmed sketches differently, and how?
LW: I wouldn’t say that we do. There aren’t many sketches that we have that we couldn’t perform either way. We put as much detail into our live sketches as we do our video sketches. We’ve always gone that extra mile for our live sketches to real set the scene.
WO: How have you seen the Philly sketch scene evolve in the time you’ve been around?
LW: There are definitely a lot more groups. It seems a lot more people who are involved with the Philadelphia Comedy Scene, whether it be stand up or improv, are trying their hand at sketch. Also, with the PHIT providing sketch writing classes and doing Sketch Up or Shut up at the Shubin, it seems it will keep evolving with new, young faces.
WO: Have you ever had an idea for a sketch that you loved, but the rest of the group didn’t? Tell me about it. Did you end up scrapping the idea, or using it somewhere else? Did it work out for the best?
LW: YES, yes there is one sketch that I always wanted to do, but no one else wanted to. It was called “Fight the HIV with Magic.” I can only assume no one wanted to do it because it consisted of me wearing blackface, top hat, cape and Magic Johnson basketball jersey. Magic was hosting a telethon to collect money, not for HIV awareness, but to save his own life. He’d say repeatedly “You don’t want me to die, do ya? Give your money.” Then when we shot and performed live the Juggalos sketch, I had to put my money where my mouth is and put on blackface. I can now never run for President. There was also “Forklift Academy” which was just Police Academy with forklifts. That was never written or shot because of my own laziness.