Just For Laughs

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

October 11, 1992|By LAURA BARNHARDT

You can't see them on the networks or HBO yet -- Brian "B. K." Phillips and Casper Burger still make their living waiting tables. But as stars (and everything else) of their own weekly comedy show on Bowie Cable Television, Channel 10B, they've succeeded at what they set out to do earlier this year: Get their "Wayne's World"-style show on the air and make people laugh.

Making people laugh is one of the few things B. K., 23, and Casper, 22, are serious about. Since debuting on television early in the summer, they've temporarily abandoned college. B. K., who majored in commercial art at Anne Arundel Community College, is following his dream "to be big in the entertainment business." And Casper, who has studied drama "at colleges all over the United States," is now out to "play the rest of my life and get paid for it."

Q: What's the format of your show?

Casper: Right now, we're filming and editing skits that will be shown during the live show, which airs Sunday nights from 7 to 10. We play music, show clips of what we've filmed, and [do] whatever comes off the top of our heads. Like last week I got bored so I just took the camera and starting dragging it around on the ground to make it look like a mouse was loose in the studio. Then B. K. picked up a shoe and threw it at the camera. So, I unplugged the camera and made it look like the mouse blacked out.

B. K.: We more or less goof off.

Q: So, you don't do much planning?

Casper: Not at all. One Sunday I picked up a deck of cards and started dealing them out. When B. K. wasn't looking I took a couple aces and stuck them in my hat. The audience could see them, but B. K. couldn't. Then when B. K. turned away, I pulled the aces out of my hat. Well, someone called and said, "B. K., Casper's cheating." I looked into the camera and said, "Thanks a lot for snitching, guys." Of course I didn't plan that.

B. K.: The caller added the punch line. It's not like a week ago we said, "We're going to cheat at playing cards."

Q: Do you have a lot of callers?

B. K.: The phone rings constantly, because of stuff like that. People want to be part of it.

Casper: We have a lot of people calling in asking us who we are, when we're on, asking us out on dates, and most of all, "What are you guys doing?"

Q: Have you had any mishaps on the air?

B. K.: I always forget to turn on the mike after we play a song, and sometimes I'll talk for a minute before someone calls to tell me.

Casper: We hit the camera accidentally when we're dancing around. And the first night, we had audio and no video. Then video and no audio. Then the tape player broke. But all these screw-ups are just funny to the people watching at home.

Q: When did you start doing comedy together?

B. K.: It was about February. I was about to start doing comedy clubs again and Casper was doing a play at school. One day we were playing tennis and just decided to get together on it. A lot of our ideas are the same. We play off each other really well.

Q: Why did you want to go into television?

Casper: It sort of fell upon us. A few weeks after we formed our comedy improv group, I waited on the program director of Bowie Cable Television and she said I was funny and that I should have a TV show. Originally she just wanted to film us doing stand-up, but I told her we could put something together. Then we spent an entire weekend -- up all night -- writing our first show. They were all comedy skits, not stand-up.

Q: How did you get your show on the air?

Casper: First, we had to take "How not to break the equipment" classes.

B. K.: Since neither of us had done anything with television before, we thought all we'd have to do was perform and maybe edit.

Casper: Actually, we do absolutely everything once the show gets under way: run the cameras, studio equipment, lights. . . . When we edit our filmed skits, there are tech people to help us.

Q: What are your goals for the show?

B. K.: We want to be on national television someday. . . .

Casper: . . . And eventually we'd like to make a movie. So as soon as we finish a tape, we're going to start sending them to different cable companies and smaller broadcast networks. . . .

B. K.: . . . where they're looking for new talent.

Q: So, you're really serious about this?

B. K.: It's not like we plan on doing this just until we're out of college and then move on to normal careers. This is our career. . . . All my life I wanted to draw. But at this point, I'm putting the show first.

Casper: And I'm not drawing right now, because, well . . . I can't draw.

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