ASF Hot Seat: Master Pancake Theater

At this point, I think it’s safe to call Master Pancake Theater an Austin Comedy institution. The vast majority of their shows at the Alamo Drafthouse shows sell out, they’ve won “Best Comedy Troupe” in the Austin Chronicle Readers poll six years running. They’ve done shows with Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Joel Hodgson, Doug Benson, Elijah Wood and more. We’re super excited to have them close-out the fest Sunday night. We talked to head pancake John Erler.
How’s 2014 been treating you so far?

John Erler: Great. We’ve been taking the show on the road a lot. We perform at Alamo Drafthouses in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio on a monthly basis. We’ve got some fun new shows on the horizon in Austin, including a mock of Space Jam for the NBA Finals, and an overnight slumber party where we watch all five Twilight movies back-to-back. We’ll start at sundown and go to sun-up so that we can call it “From Twilight til Breaking Dawn“. Get it? Look for it probably in August.

Last year for Austin Sketch Fest you mocked an episode of Law & Order. This year, it’s the spicy cousin SVU. Do you have a favorite?

Erler: Between SVU and Original? No. Each has its merits. I like Jerry Orbach a lot. I also like Ice T and sex crimes. For me what matters most is that the story is ripped from today’s headlines. And as long as it’s got unbelievably glib dialogue concerning gruesome events, punctuated by the “chu-chung” sound effect and a graphic of the current location, that’s really all I need.

You seem to genuinely like the movies you make fun of, or at least grow to like them. Is there a movie you grew to hate, the more you watched it?

Erler: No. Strangely, it’s really hard to like something LESS the more I watch it. Doing a full run of a movie (weeks and weeks of it) is always a discovery process. I see new things each time. Or an audience member will point something out that I haven’t seen. Or I’ll grow attached to certain characters. I’ve developed a strong case of Stockholm Syndrome for the Twilight movies. I get a little choked up whenever I watch Bella and Edward’s wedding in BDp1.

What are you looking forward to at ASF?

Erler: So many things, most of which I won’t be able to see because we’re doing shows at the Alamo simultaneously: it kills me that I won’t get to see Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, Ithamar Enriquez, Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting. BUT I am super excited I’ll get to see to see the new STAG Comedy show on Thursday.

Master Pancake Theater performs Sunday May 25th, 10pm at the Spider House Ballroom along with stand-up from Brian Gaar.