How’s Melbourne treating you guys?
Mark Chavez: Well Shenoah was just showing me some pics of the Docklands, he took a walk down there which was pretty exciting, I found that part of it is condemned and in our show we have a big sinkhole kind of looking thing in a condemned dock.
So now you’ve got some local flavour to add to the show?
MC: Exactly. There was almost a Melbournian woman in the show but she didn’t make it in the end.
Shenoah Allen: We did have to do some translating though, we had to change the word jelly to jam.
How has the Comedy Festival been going?
MC: Well the show is brand new so we’re still making the show but it really got on its feet and it seems to be going great, the reviews are great, people are showing up, they’re laughing.
Do you read the reviews?
MC: No but I like to know if it’s going okay, but I don’t read them anymore. I find that I take a bad sentence with me for too long. And it can even be meant to be nice but I fixate on it.
What can audiences expect from the show?
MC: Well if people have seen our other shows, it’s like that but we have a stronger narrative in this one, and we kind of wrote it a bit different to our other shows. I think it’s really funny, we spent a lot of time writing jokes and the ones that don’t work we just throw them out and replace them with good ones.
You guys are veterans of Melbourne, what do you love about the festival?
MC: Well the thing that is rad about the festival is that we got our start, or rather, the first place we got traction was in Edinburgh, and it’s a huge festival, like 2,000 acts. It’s a giant sea of different comics and it’s pretty daunting, whereas in Melbourne it’s smaller environment and you get to interact and make friends with the other comics. It makes your whole life better because when we go back to the UK we know a lot of these acts, it’s more user friendly.
What do you love about Melbourne in general?
MC: I really like it, it’s cool and artistic, there are all these little pockets of things going on and tucked away cafes.
SA: the food is really good and we’re really enjoying the coffee.
MC: I feel like people are still really individual. I find that in big cities people get kind of trapped and feel like they have to plug into whatever it is, whether it’s Broadway or whatever. They get needy. But in a city this size, people are still really creative and carving their own path. It’s exciting.
Which city is better: Sydney or Melbourne?
MC: Uh oh. Well, if I had to live in one it would be Sydney. It’s so beautiful. But when it comes to the festival, Sydney is so much bigger and I think festivals tend to do better in smaller cities. Sydney doesn’t have that feeling of like ‘we’re all here together doing the same thing’ because the venues are so spread out. But doing the shows, where it really matters, they’re great in both cities.
SA: We love both cities!
So why pajamas on stage? Is it just your thing?
MC: It’s turned into that. But originally when we first started wearing them we wanted a neutral costume that wasn’t too distracting, we didn’t want to deal with costume changes or props and we wanted something that we could move freely in. We didn’t do it thinking ‘this is our new gimmick’. But as time went on, people identified pajamas with us, this was before we were even called the Pajama Men. And so we kind of took a step back and looked at what we’re doing and stuck with it.
SA: Now we would prefer to wear something a bit more flattering.
MC: Maybe it’s good for us, we can never really feel that cool. We just did a year of touring doing improv and we didn’t wear pajamas, we got to wear suits.
SA: It feels better to wear nice clothes on stage!
MA: It’s good for us to have this geeky, goofy costume because the show is pretty goofy.
So do you wear pajamas to bed?
MC: No, and I find it crazy that people do. I don’t mean you have to sleep naked but I still find it weird that you can just go into any department store and buy a full set of weird, vintage old man pajamas. I guess that means there is a high enough demand, it just seems old-school.
What do you think of Onesies?
SA: Oh they seem kind of weird and dirty. There is too many details involved, they’re too tight, there’s too much tackle.
MC: Oh the blankets with arms? No, but maybe we’ll wear them on stage as a challenge for ourselves one day.
Do you two feel like a married couple?
MC: Yeah I mean it gets couple-y enough. It’s the closet thing to a marriage that either of us has ever had. I’ll say things at restaurants like “Well you know Shenoa is a vegetarian…”
SA: And I’ll order Mark a latte without asking if he wants one.
Catch The Pajama Men’s new show Just The Two Of Each Of Us at the Sydney Comedy Festival (24th – 27th April; and 29th April) at the Seymour Centre. See: sydneycomedyfest.com.au