Dope Ass World reporting the most underrated stories out there
God knows news can be really depressing. With everything that is going on in the world, from ISIS to the Ebola virus, it’s easy to become disinterested in this bleak reporting of reality.
Fortunately, for those of you who prefer your news with a side of comedy, the Jon Stewarts, Stephen Colberts and John Olivers of this world are there to provide a different insight on the news.
Dope Ass World, one of the two Montreal-based groups still in the CBC ComedyCoup project, takes a similar yet distinctive take on the style of satirical news. Instead of reporting on daily news and pinpointing its ridiculousness, Dope Ass World focuses not only on a news team but also, as they so accurately put it, the most underrated stories that could possibly be out there.
The Concordian talked with Harris Ellison, one of the members of Dope Ass World, to chat a bit about this news satire and its place in ComedyCoup.
The Concordian (C): Why did you decide to get into the world of news satire?
Harris Ellison (HE): ComedyCoup’s deadline really forced us to come up with a T.V. show idea fast. It wasn’t really our conscious decision to do news satire—we liked the idea of a making up fake news stories, but what really got us excited was telling stories about characters in a news crew. We kept coming up with different ways a field-report could go wrong, and that’s how it all started.
C: Looking at your project, it’s obvious that you’re distancing yourself from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which could be labeled as the precursors of the genre. How would you say Dope Ass World is different?
HE: First and foremost we’re leaving the real news to above-mentioned pros. Our stories are completely made up and totally ridiculous. The whole concept is to get out from behind the desk and report stories first hand. We’re not just a news spoof, we’re building fully fleshed out narratives around our fictional reports. Our show is much closer to Scooby-Doo than The Onion.
C: What do you think of the world of news in general and our shortened attention span?
HE: We see how the news adheres to attention span and it’s something we constantly have in mind. We’re always trying to pack jokes in, move fast, and be unexpected. We only get 90 seconds in these ComedyCoup vids and our worst fear is to lose a viewer 20 seconds in.
C: How does Dope Ass World satirize news in general, but also news outlets always looking for, as you put it, the most underrated news possible to distinguish themselves?
HE: It seems like a lot of journalists think that they’re action heroes when they put themselves in dangerous situations. While we acknowledge the balls of steel you may need to do this job, we can’t help but find some humour in how egotistical some news outlets have become.
C: Are you guys avid consumer of news, or you prefer simply looking at what’s going on around the world for Dope Ass World?
HE: Some of us watch and read the news but it’s not our main source of inspiration for Dope Ass World. While we may incorporate real world events, most of the time it’s just us coming up with meme-worthy headlines that our characters can somehow get mixed up with.
C: In your opinion, what distinguishes and makes you a serious contender in CBC’s ComedyCoup contest?
HE: After years of putting out weekly comedy videos on our YouTube channel Boo Ya Pictures, we felt prepared to roll with ComedyCoup’s relentless schedule. We’ve already been practicing our ability to quickly produce content with limited resources and it’s definitely helping in this competition.
C: How would you promote Dope Ass World to your possible national audience to make them watch your show?
HE: By hijacking local news reports! If you’re a news reporter in the field, watch out! We’ll straight up grab your microphone, shout out Dope Ass World and use your airtime to pitch our show. So local pansy-ass news outlets… Consider yourselves warned. For the full answer you’ll have to watch our week five “Hype It” mission at dopeassworld.com.
The CBC venture is currently looking to find Canada’s most talented comedy group for a 30-minute prime time special. Now that the selection is down to an ultimate top 15 chosen by the public, the voting is over and the real “competition” has started (according to CBC, ComedyCoup is not an actual contest, but an opportunity to present and promote Canada’s comedic talents).
This Q&A has been edited for purposes of length and clarity.
For more information on ComedyCoup and Dope Ass World, visit comedycoup.cbc.ca.