Interview & Giveaway: 'The Hungry Hungry Games' Monday 30 September, 2013
Since we had to pull the audio from Episode 121 due to technical issues, we’ve transcribed our full interview with Jim, Alice, and Andy from The Hungry Hungry Games. Hope you enjoy!
To learn more about The Hungry Hungry Games, visit their website: www.HungryHungryGames.com
And if you’d like to win tickets to see a performance of The Hungry Hungry Games in your area, read through the interview and follow the instructions down below.
Savanna: The Hungry Hungry Games is a brand new, unofficial parody of The Hunger Games. And I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, there are so many parodies out there already.” The thing that is so cool and unique about this is that it’s a live stage parody. As far as I’m aware, it’s the first stage parody of The Hunger Games to exist. And it’s currently touring the country, which is pretty fantastic.
We are now going to introduce the creators of The Hungry Hungry Games. We actually have one of the actors from the show with us as well! First up, we have Jim Millan. Jim is the director/writer, and Jim – and you can elaborate on this if you want – you’ve been involved in some pretty cool stuff like The Kids in the Hall and Mythbusters Live. Were you directing or writing those…?
Jim: I directed Kids in the Hall live shows. And as a matter of fact, you guys will be in on a scoop, because we’re getting together for the first time in five years and doing five evenings of The Kids in the Hall in Toronto, Canada, in December. So you heard it here first.
Savanna: That’s super exciting! I was definitely a fan of Kids in the Hall way back in the day, so…really, really neat! Thank you so much for joining us. We also have Alice Moran, who is the co-writer of The Hungry Hungry Games. And Alice is an actor and a writer and – you probably could have guessed I really wanted to ask you about this – you’re also a Guinness World Record holder!
Alice: (laughs) Yes, I am! It’s not a huge thing, I was just part of the World’s Largest Secret Santa!
Savanna: Of all the things to make it into the Guinness World Records book for, I would say that’s pretty cool. I think that’s something to be proud of, don’t you?
Alice: I’m very proud of it! I have a certificate on my wall that’s next to my high school diploma. So those are my two achievements.
Savanna: We have also with us, lastly, Andy Schneeflock, who plays your version of President Snow. In the show, he is called President Snoo. Hello, Andy, how are you?
Andy: I’m great, thanks for having me on the show!
Savanna: And Andy has a whole – obviously he’s an actor – he has a whole host of really fantastic theatre credits as well as a couple of TV credits. So, yeah, he seems like a pretty cool guy! Thank you for joining us.
Andy: Oh wow, thank you for calling me a cool guy! It’s been a long time since that happened.
Jim: I called you a cool guy last week. I think. Maybe it was one of the others…
Andy: I think it was one of the others.
Savanna: I have a few questions to ask you, but first, we would love to just kind of hear about the origins of Hungry Hungry Games. What made you get together and say, “Let’s write a live parody of The Hunger Games and take it on tour.” How was this all incepted?
Alice: Well, I guess last summer, Colin Munch – who is one of the writers of the show as well – and I, we work for a company called The Bad Dog Theatre Company. And they asked us what we wanted to do for a summer show, and I really love The Hunger Games, so we started working on that. And in that show, I played Katniss and he played Peeta, and every show was basically just him trying to trick me into holding his hand. It was a game that we started doing all the time, and it was for fun. And then when Jim came, we started being like, “Can we script this and make this into a real thing?” And we did, and it was really lovely.
Jim: The other writers, Jon Blair as well, these guys knew each other a lot. We sort of became better acquainted working on Spank! [a Fifty Shades of Grey parody], and that was so successful, the producers of that were wanting to hear about other things that we thought might make a good show. And Alice did an impassioned speech about how there are tons of Hunger Games fans out there, and that the material was great, and because it’s pop culture it would attract an audience and be fun to work on, and she got us all excited about it. So we started writing it not too long ago, and then we cast it, and it actually just opened last week in Vermont and in Connecticut for a couple of shows, which went really, really well. Great response from the audience. And now it continues, starting on the 27th is the next public date, and I think it plays through to the middle of November. And it goes all over the country.
Savanna: Amazing! I’m sure you guys are aware of this, there are quite a few Hunger Games parodies out there already. I mentioned this a couple of minutes ago. So obviously the fact that yours is a live production really sets it apart. But what else do you think makes your parody unique? And sort of in that same vein, why do you think there are so many Hunger Games parodies out there? Because on the surface I don’t think people would say the material necessarily lends itself to parody because it’s so deep and heavy and serious…
Alice: Oh, I think the deepest and the heaviest stuff is the stuff that is the ripest for parody! I think the darker the subject, the easier it is to make light of something. And I think The Hunger Games is sort of like… I love it so much, but it’s one of those things that when you say it out loud – “it’s a bunch of teenagers fighting to the death in the woods” – it’s immediately like… Imagining myself as a teenager in the woods is really funny. I can tell you I would have spent most of the time crying and the rest of the time flipping cameras the bird and being like, “I don’t wanna be here.” (laughter)
Jim: I think anytime you take something that’s this popular in pop culture, it’s got lots of aspects to it that are fun to play with. And when you get comedians together, it’s really great fun to see where crazy brains want to take it. Whether it’s President Snoo or the fact that we also really emphasize that it’s a bunch of teenagers. The training sequence could easily be happening in the halls of a high school and sort of the survival of the fittest of high school or a John Hughes film or something. There are just lots of ways to tackle the subject.
Andy: I feel like everyone who’s been involved in writing it and the cast that I’ve been working with, everyone really loves The Hunger Games and loves the books and really has a passion for them. Parody is such a fun genre because you get to take something that you love and that other people love and in a way give homage to it in a really fun kind of silly way that everyone enjoys, and it just takes people’s love of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire and Mockingjay to a whole ‘nother level because we love it and have so much fun with it
Savanna: I think that’s a really beautiful way of putting it. Because parodies, especially parodies of The Hunger Games, are often heavily criticized. I think it’s important to hear someone like you kind of explain the thought behind it because obviously you’re all fans, and this is something that’s being done just to share your love of the series, not to make a mockery of it and criticize it in any way.
Okay, one more question. Actually, I kind of have two more questions. One, what was one of the most challenging aspects of The Hunger Games to transfer into your parody? Or just any kind of challenges in general that you dealt with.
Alice: I remember we had a really hard time trying to find a fun way to do Katniss and Peter’s romance – Peter, ‘cause ours is Peter in the show, and I’m getting so confused by flipping the names. Kat and Peter are our characters. We rewrote the rooftop scene the night before they go into the Hunger Games, I’m going to say about 12 times. Colin and I, who played Kat and Peter in the first cast, we would literally just go out in the hall, we would improvise something, come back in the room and be like, “How about this?” And Jim would be like, “There’s no jokes, that’s just you guys being uncomfortable. Go and do it again.”
Jim: (laughs) Well, often we just had to find aspects or an angle on a scene that would open up something. So in the end, that ended up being kind of a tender scene but also very funny. But it ended up being a scene about her admitting to the audience – ‘cause she does little monologues to the audience – she admits to the audience that she’s, in spite of herself, starting to feel a little affection for the guy she’s going to stone-cold kill the next time she sees him. But she has feelings for him, so she’s coaching him. In our version of that scene, she coaches him on how he can survive. And so they put scenarios out for each other, and they kind of act them out a little bit. And at the end, he says, “No, no, you wouldn’t be able to kill me because I’d see you coming so I would keep my distance.” And she goes, “Even if I do this?” And then she sort of starts being a teenage girl and flirting with him a little bit. And he’s just so paralyzed by that, she walks up to him and kisses him on the cheek, and then he stands there with his eyes wide open and then she goes – you know, not with a real knife but with a pretend knife –mime knifes, as if she would stab him in the heart seven times. “See? Goodnight, Peter.”
So what it does is it actually has romance in it, it’s not a scene that’s an identical mirror of that scene, but it’s inspired by that scene and situation, and we take it in a comic direction. There’s a great scene between the Gamemaker and the President which is a parallel scene to the scene about hope. And it’s taken in a whole direction where they talk about the underdog, and we get off on a discussion of Underdog, the 60s TV series. And if you’d ever seen that, we’d be less inclined to cheer for the underdog. And it’s comedians sort of trampolining off the material into fresh ideas and very funny things.
Alice: Rue’s dying was really hard, too. How do you make the death of a small child funny was so hard.
Jim: In our version she’s very chirpy and then she, even with the song and things like that, we take it in a different direction. Do you want to say what it is?
Alice: Do we want to spoil the joke?
Jim and Adam: Yeah, go tell them! Spoil it, tell us!
Alice: Okay, if you don’t want to hear it, plug your ears. But what happens is, Rue is dying, and she looks up at Kat, and she goes, “Sing me a song.” And Kat proceeds to sing “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers with a full call and response.
Jim: And Rue is so happy, so it’s a happy, heroic moment with the two of them. But the audience is laughing. If you love the books and the movie, you can really embrace the silliness, just like, well, whatever your favorite satirical film is, whether it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or…you know, there’s dozens of films you can name. At least the audience response so far has been, they think what we’re doing is witty, they think it’s surprising, which is great in a live show. And there’s just tons of laughs. Like Andy, the other night in New Haven, you guys were getting a laugh every 15 seconds?
Andy: Oh yeah, the show was maybe about 10 minutes longer than normal just because there were so many laughs. And people really love the material, and there’s just this really fun… We keep it really light, you know? The material of The Hunger Games itself is already so good, and as you said earlier, it’s very deep, and you could easily make a staged version of that and NOT get laughs. But as a cast and comedy group, we keep it light and fun, and we’re having fun onstage, and it makes for a really fun night of comedy. And if you love The Hunger Games, you will really, really love The Hungry Hungry Games for sure.
Savanna: And it sounds like you’ve incorporated a lot of the movie in as well as stuff that’s kind of exclusive to the book, right?
Jim: Oh, definitely there’s references, we refer to all of it!
Savanna: Ok, my last question. I’m dying to know about this: The trailer [for the show] makes reference to an epic rap battle. And I don’t know if you want to spoil this for people who might go see the show, but I’m just dying to know about who is involved in this epic rap battle and what people can expect out of this epic rap battle. I just want to know about it, I’m very curious!
Alice: Well, our rap battle, it happens during training. And it’s between our versions of Katniss, Peeta, Cato, and Clove. Just trying to one up each other with raps.
Jim: It all came out of the idea that in training you have to be prepared for anything and because we didn’t want to have a ton of comedians pretending to shoot arrows and handle swords for 10 minutes of our show. Several of the comedians also do improv rap battles here in Toronto, and we thought, “Oh ok, this is going to be unbelievable.” In the middle of this, Kat has the line, “We have to be prepared for anything.” And there’s a voiceover, “Prepare for rap battles. Tributes, prepare for rap battles.” And Kat, in fact, drops a killer rap. And there’s four raps, three of which are glorious. And the fourth one is hilarious. So it’s both funny and, of all the things you thought tributes would do in training, you didn’t think rap battles would be there. It’s one of the highlights of the first act.
Savanna: That sounds absolutely fabulous. It’s funny, SNL, when they had Jennifer Lawrence on, they did a couple of Hunger Games sketches, and I did not think they were that funny at all. I feel like maybe they should have consulted with you guys, because I think the idea of having an epic rap battle at the training center is just glorious.
Adam: Were you at all inspired by — I assume you were inspired by the Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD rap battles that are on YouTube?
Alice: You know, Jon Blair, who’s one of our writers, is just straight up one of the best rappers I have ever seen in my life. We do a show here in Toronto called Rap Battles, and he is a frequent winner of that show, his best character being Triple Crown, a rapper who wishes he was a horse. There is nobody funnier at rapping than Jon Blair, he is straight up just one of the most talented human beings you’ve ever seen.
Jim: It’s true. And he’s the son of the Chief of Police of Toronto, go figure. It’s like the Guinness Book of World Records thing, just throw that in and it’s like, wow, that’s cool.
Adam: It’s so funny that you mentioned the Proclaimers song, “500 Miles,” because there was actually a text message meme involving The Hunger Games that used that song, which I think you guys would find really interesting. It’s a pretend text message exchange between Gale and Katniss. And Gale says, “But I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.” And Katniss says, “We wouldn’t make it five miles.” So he says, “I’d get five miles. Just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles to fall down at your door.” And she says, “Sounds good, I’ll totally be with Peeta by then.” It’s kind of a funny exchange. I just had to bring that up because I remembered seeing that, and that was pretty hilarious that out of all things you’d pick that song. So small world.
Savanna: This show sounds really, really funny. Like I mentioned at the start of this episode, they are currently touring the country. They were most recently in Connecticut, and they’re hitting up quite a few states: Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, et cetera and so on. All of the tour dates are on their website, HungryHungryGames.com. And I noticed that you are touring through May 2014. Do you know if you’ll go beyond that, or is that the end you have planned?
Jim: What we’re doing now obviously is getting lots of other people – promoters and other people – out to see it, so over the course of the fall hopefully we’ll be adding dates to this, and it can have a nice, long life like the trilogy will.
Jim: Yeah, you can go to the tour date page and there are links to the box office and it has information on the dates and places and everything like that. So definitely like us on Facebook and go to HungryHungryGames.com!
Savanna: Before we send you on your way, I have a question for Andy since you play Preisdent Snoo. My question is: We’re getting ready to now have a discussion about Julianne Moore, who was cast as Coin. Andy, since you play President Snoo, who is basically President Snow, who is kind of Coin’s rival…do you approve of this casting choice?
Andy: I, the actor – Andy – definitely approve of Julianne Moore. But I don’t know if Snoo does. Hold on a second, I’ll get him. Hold on. Hey, Snoo, did you hear that question?
Andy (in character as Snoo): Yes, I did. Oh, Julianne Moore. Ah. Yes, um, I don’t know. I don’t know. She’s a little too tall. I don’t know if she can play a coin. She’s a little too tall to play a coin.
Andy: No, the character’s name is Coin.
Snoo: It’s a dumb name. Who would name someone Coin?
Andy: I didn’t come up with it. I think it’s a good name.
Snoo: Well, you’re dumb, Andy.
Andy: Okay, thank you, thank you, Snoo. That was…
Snoo: Whatever, goodbye. Bye.
Andy: …rude. I’m sorry about that.
Savanna: How very verbally abusive!
Andy: He is. He doesn’t know how to behave. He doesn’t know.
Savanna: You need to keep him locked away somewhere. He should not be allowed out.
Andy: He only comes out for show purposes and rap battles.
Savanna: That’s probably for the best. You know, an epic rap battle between Snow and Coin is something I would really like to see, I think. Thank you all so, so much — Jim, Alice, and Andy — for coming on to chat about The Hungry Hungry Games. We hope that maybe we’ll get a chance to see it if it comes to our areas. And listeners, please check it out if you have a chance. We would love to hear about it.
Jim Millan (Director/Writer): Select credits include live tours of sketch comedy legends, The Kids in the Hall, Tommy Chong’s Marijuanalogues and Mythbusters Live with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. His live comedy Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody is also currently on tour across the country in over 150 cities across the US and Canada. He is the founder of Toronto’s renowned Crow’s Theatre which has produced over 90 new works and numerous tours in Canada and abroad. He has directed productions across Canada as well as in Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Mexico City, Caracas, Seoul, Melbourne, Sydney, Budapest, Warsaw and all over the U.S. including off Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Kodak Theatre (LA) and Las Vegas.
Alice Moran (Co-Writer) is an actor, writer, and Guinness world record holder. Select theater credits include: SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody, and Hungry Hungry Games (Mills Entertainment); Throne of Games, Pad Set, Secret Origin, and Doctor Whom (Bad Dog Theatre Company); Best Monday Ever, Dysfunctional Holiday Revue and S#!T My Mayor Says (Second City’s National Touring Company); Vampire Campfire (Second City Educational Company). Film & Television: The Ron James Show (CBC); Roland (Spy Films); Hufflepuff, and Gale & Katniss (The Second City Network). www.alicemoran.com.
Andy Schneeflock (“President Snoo” in The Hungry Hungry Games) Select credits: THEATER: Timmy the Great (directed by Jay Binder at Theater for a New City) The Story Pirates (Various Venues) Harry The Hunk On His Way Out (The Cherry Lane Theatre) Mush (NY Fringe at La Mama) Miss Nelson is Missing (Atlantic Theater For Kids) A Winter’s Tale (Atlantic Stage 2) Ori & Addison (The Beckett Theater) OMFG Sketch Comedy & Too Many Zombies TV (UCB). TV: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Believe” and the web series “Robocamp.” He is a teacher at the Atlantic Theater Company and a company member of the comedy troupe The Story Pirates!
Thanks to the generosity of the folks behind The Hungry Hungry Games, we have a pair of tickets to each stop on the tour to give away (see list of cities and dates below)! Want to win tickets to a performance in your area? Here’s what you have to do:
- Imagine that two Hunger Games characters are engaged in an epic rap battle. Leave a comment on this post with an example of what one (or both) of them might rap. Not a rapper? No problem! We love bad, ridiculous raps.
- Send us an email at FiresideHosts@gmail.com with a link to your comment (you can right-click on the date/timestamp above your comment and choose “copy link address” to get the link). Let us know which tour stop you’d like tickets for.
Tickets will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, the first person to email us requesting Detroit will win the tickets for Detroit. We’ll keep the list of tour dates updated so you can see which cities are still available.
Please note that we are only giving away tickets (which were so kindly donated by The Hungry Hungry Games). You will have to provide your own transportation, etc.
Good luck! And get rappin’!
Tour dates for The Hungry Hungry Games:
October 2, 2013: GLENSIDE, PA – Keswick Theatre
October 5, 2013: NEW BEDFORD, MA – The Zeiterion
October 9, 2013 – BOSTON, MA – Wilbur Theatre
October 10, 2013: WORCESTER, MA – Hanover Theater
October 12, 2013: – NEWARK, NJ – The New Jersey Performing Arts Center
October 13, 2013 – TARRYTOWN, NY – Tarrytown Music Hall
October 15 – 16, 2013: BETHLEHEM, PA – ArtsQuest Cafe
October 18, 2013: YORK, PA – The Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center
October 19, 2013: BROOKVILLE, LONG ISLAND, NY – Tilles Center For The Performing Arts, Long Island University
October 20, 2013: CONCORD, NH – Capitol Center for the Arts
October 29, 2013: GREEN BAY, WI – Meyer Theatre
November 1, 2013: MADISON, WI – Capitol Theatre, Overture Center
November 3, 2013: MILWAUKEE, WI – Turner Hall CLAIMED
November 5, 2013: DETROIT, MI – City Theatre
November 15-17, 2013: RALEIGH, NC – Duke Energy Center