The Big Lez Show

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The Big Lez Show
The Big Lez Show title card.jpg
Genre
Created by
  • Jarrad Wright
Written by
  • Jarrad Wright
  • Tom Hollis
  • Izak Whear
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 35
Release
Original network
Original release 16 July 2012 – present

The Big Lez Show is an Australian comedy web series created by Jarrad Wright.[1][2] The show originally premiered on YouTube on July 16, 2012.

The show's protagonist is Big Lez, a humanoid alien living in the fictional town of Brown Town, Australia. The show follows the adventures of Lez, his friends and nemeses.[1]

Initially uploaded on YouTube, the show quickly gained great popularity and developed a cult following.[3] The premiere of season 4 reached 1 million views within 2 months of being uploaded and the show became such a success that a five episode spin-off series entitled The Mike Nolan Show was commissioned by Comedy Central Australia.[4] The show was produced by the same people in the same manner as the original series and premiered on June 10, 2016.[5]

The show has enjoyed vast popularity in recent years, with viewership soaring during season 3's release. As of May 2018, The Big Lez Show YouTube channel has over 68 million views, with each episode averaging 1-2 million views.[4]

Premise[edit]

Big Lez is a humanoid alien living in Brown Town, Australia, where he was banished to from his home planet. Lez lives across the street from his brother Norton, who he despises and next door to his friends Sassy and Donny. The show's content varies from drawing humour in mundane day-to-day activities between Lez and his friends to large, grand adventures where they take on the show's antagonists, the Choomahs.[6]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes First aired Last aired Platform
1 11 July 16, 2012 January 28, 2013 YouTube
2 10 March 4, 2013 May 12, 2014
3 10 July 7, 2014 August 21, 2015
4 4 March 10, 2017 Present

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Lez[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Lezlie "Lez" Mackerel, often nicknamed "Big Lez" is the show's title character and protagonist. He is a humanoid alien from the fictional planet of Kingdom Cum, who was banished from the planet alongside his brother Norton by their father, King Larinox. Settling on Earth in Brown Town, Lez adopted Quinton as his son and became friends with many of the locals in Brown Town.

Lez is portrayed as an ill-tempered and hostile character who is often violent towards those he dislikes. He feels extreme animosity towards his brother Norton, who he often goes out of his way to actively irritate or upset. As a father, Lez is often very neglectful and uncaring of his adopted son Quinton, who he often ignores or is abusive towards. It is shown, however, that deep down Lez cares about him.

Lez is a fan of recreational drug use and will often join Sassy and his friends in smoking marijuana or taking psychedelic drugs.

As an alien from Kingdom Cum, Lez has many superhuman capabilities, such as super strength and endurance. All of the characters in The Big Lez Show who originate from Kingdom Cum experience similar abilities.

Norton[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Norton Sparkles is Lez's brother and across-the-street neighbour. Lez's feeling of great hatred towards Norton is equally reciprocated, as Norton will also actively try to disrupt Lez's life, although usually to a lesser extent. Norton acts as Quinton's uncle and sometimes takes care of Quinton in times where Lez is being abusive to him. Also from the planet of Kingdom Cum, Norton possesses the same superhuman abilities as Lez.

Norton is portrayed as a camp character and strong hints are made throughout the series to his sexuality, although it is never explicitly stated and is sometimes actually denied.

Quinton[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Quinton is Lez's son, who was abandoned on his doorstep as an orphan. Lez only adopted Quinton upon realising the money he could make from child support payments. Quinton is severely neglected by his father Lez and sometimes runs away to Norton's house in times of need. Quinton expresses dislike of his father frequently and often curses at him, although he is also usually respectful and fearful of his father's authority. Unlike most of the people surrounding him, Quinton is sceptical of drugs and is reluctant to take any from Lez and Sassy's gang.

Sassy[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Sassy, also known as "Sassy the Sasquatch" is an anthropomorphic sasquatch, Lez's friend and next-door-neighbour. An extreme drug user, Sassy is in a near-perpetual state of intoxication and is rarely seen in the show without some form of drugs in his hand. Sassy lives in a run-down wooden shack next door to Lez along with four of his friends, Donny, Wayne-O, Scruffy and Owly. While all of Sassy's friends are hardcore drug users as well, Sassy acts as the ringleader of their friend group and is usually the one persuading others to take drugs with him.

Out of all the characters in the show, Sassy is one of the most easy-going, approachable and friendly. Sassy will often engage in conversation with people who his friends would otherwise ignore and dislike, such as Clarence or Quinton. Sassy suffers amnesia due to his heavy drug use and regularly talks using nonsensical words in his speech. He is known for his catchphrases "Wadiyatalkinabeet?" (pronounced "what are you talkin abeet?") and "You fucking druggo."[7]

Donny[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Donny, also known as "Donny the Dealer" is Sassy's housemate and lifelong friend, and is also a Sasquatch. Donny owns the local shop where he employs Clarence and, like Sassy, is a heavy drug user. Donny often hangs around with Sassy and their housemates, where they regularly partake in recreational drug use. He is also friends with other locals, such as Mike and Lez.

Mike[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Michael "Mike" Nolan, often nicknamed "Nolesy" is a local resident of Brown Town and self described "jack of all trades". Mike works in various places around Brown Town and is friends with Lez and Sassy's gang. Like the rest of them, Mike is an avid fan of recreational drug use.

Mike is the protagonist and title character of the Comedy Central Australia spin-off series The Mike Nolan Show.

Clarence[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Clarence originated as a scientist on Kingdom Cum. A failed experiment backfired on him, causing severe mutations to occur all over his body, transforming him into a small, shrivelled potato-headed figure. He was banished from Kingdom Cum and ejected into space along with the remains of his failed experiment. After crash landing on an island off the coast of Australia, Clarence accidentally drops his experimental fluid into a large ravine, which mutates over time and becomes the source of the Choomahs. While on what then becomes Choomah Island, Clarence meets Sassy and Donny who offer him a home in Brown Town.

Clarence works as the local mailman in Brown Town as well as a general dogsbody in Donny's shop. Clarence is one of the most good-natured and kind people in the show but his attempts at friendship are usually not reciprocated as most of the other characters find him irritating and annoying. In particular, Lez and Donny are very hostile towards Clarence although Sassy is sometimes kind to him.

As Clarence originates from Kingdom Cum, he also possesses supernatural powers. Clarence experiences invincibility and can withstand any sort of injury, however the pain he withstands from any sort of injury never dissipates.

Choomahs[edit]

Voiced by Tom Hollis

The Choomahs are the main antagonists of the show. The Choomahs are a fictional species of wildly ferocious animals who originated on Choomah Island as a mutation from Clarence's failed experiment. Choomahs often appear in the show in the backgrounds of scenes unbeknownst to other characters but will also sometimes attack characters. Each series of the show thus far cumulates in some form of assault on the Choomahs, in an attempt to rid Brown Town and their island of the species. Choomahs are very violent in nature and attack people when provoked.

Appearance-wise, the Choomahs are bright yellow, almost-humanoid creatures. Their aesthetic originated as butchered drawings of Homer Simpson. Choomahs do not speak, their only form of communication is very loud screeches.

Recurring characters[edit]

King Larrinox[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

King Larrinox is Lez's father and the main antagonist of the show. He speaks in a strong Scottish brogue.

Warning Guy[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Ellis "Warning Guy" Warnington is a friend of Lez who lives in Brown Town, who also originates from Kingdom Cum and possesses certain supernatural powers, such as the power of flight. He commonly wears a yellow rain coat. He speaks in a strong Scottish accent, similar to King Larrinox.

Sergio[edit]

Voiced by Izak Whear

Sergio is Warning Guy's cousin. He is an avid hunter and he speaks in a British accent.

Cecil The Sasquatch[edit]

Voiced by Jarrad Wright

Cecil is a sasquatch and an ally to Norton Sparkles. He is the named heir to and by King Larrinox and hates Lez. He is an antagonist in throughout the first three seasons.

Themes[edit]

The Big Lez Show is primarily a comedy show. The main style of comedy used in the show is crude comedy, which the show's creators describe as "Aussie humour".[8] Dialogue between characters is inspired by traits of day-to-day conversations the show's creators observe in real life.[9] Scripts contain extremely frequent and strong profanity, vulgar humour and non-politically correct conversations. In an interview with Vice Media, creator Izak Whear said "There's so much vulgar humour, just all the swearing and stuff. You see it when you go out, it's relatable because you see so much of it."[10] The show's creators have also cited Seinfeld as an influence on their comedy style. Jarrad Wright described the show's comedic influences as follows:

"Everywhere you go there's people making content for you and you're just having fun with it all. Once you step back and observe the culture and humour and the way of life here, it's just so funny! When you step back and have a look you can bring that to life and point it out and have a laugh. The more you point it out the more you keep seeing it everywhere."

— Jarrad Wright, Vice Media[10]

The show is also notable for its psychedelic influences, which are visible throughout many episodes. Aside from most of the main characters being strong drug users,[2] the show sometimes depicts at great length trips the characters experience while under the influence of hallucinogens. In particular, protagonist Lez's trips are shown in episodes where he interacts with other characters in limbo and views his own creation in Microsoft Paint as a surreal out-of-body experience.

In addition to the show's psychedelic themes, the show has several surrealist themes, such as its frequent use of breaking the fourth wall. Especially while on hallucinogenic trips, characters often discuss their nature as cartoon characters and how they are drawn. The show has even gone as far as to have the characters have conversations about how the show's fans are impatient for new episodes to come out.

Release[edit]

Season 1 of The Big Lez Show premiered on YouTube on July 16, 2012 under the channel name "guitarfingerz2112 before changing it later on in the series. Season 1 had 10 regular episodes and cumulated with the show's first special, Choomah Island. The special depicts the main characters' first assault on Choomah Island. Most episodes were very short, about 1–2 minutes in length with the season's finale lasting 13 minutes.

Season 2 premiered on March 4, 2013 and was much the same as season 1 in terms of production and story. Episodes saw a slight increase in production value, with animations slightly improving in quality and episodes lengthening to around 3–10 minutes. Season 2's finale was a 2-part special lasting about 13 minutes in length, entitled Attack of The Choomahs. The special depicts the Choomahs invading Brown Town. Season 2 had 10 episodes in total.

Season 3 saw a significant step up in terms of production, with the show's creators investing in better equipment to animate episodes with. Drawings greatly improved in quality and episodes became more consistent in length, all lasting about 5 minutes. Season 3 premiered on July 7, 2014 and by this stage, the show's popularity was such that each episode was reaching over one million views within a few months of being uploaded.[4] Season 3 had 9 regular episodes and cumulated with the show's third special, Choomah Island 2, wherein Lez and the gang return for a second assault on Choomah Island. The special was the longest episode of The Big Lez Show yet, lasting just under an hour and taking several months to produce.[11] Choomah Island 2 premiered on August 21, 2015 and has been viewed over 4 million times as of April 2018.

Between season 3 and 4, the show's creators took time off to rest and to create the show's spin-off, The Mike Nolan Show. Season 4 of The Big Lez Show premiered on March 10, 2017, and again saw a big step up in production value, with animations again improving greatly in quality and episodes lengthening in duration. On March 19, 2018, it was announced via Facebook that the season 4 finale, titled Choomah Island 3: Denouement is in production, with no set release date.

Spin-offs[edit]

The Mike Nolan Show[edit]

Looking to capitalise on the great success of The Big Lez Show, Comedy Central Australia contacted the show's creators and asked them to create a spin-off of the series. A five episode show entitled The Mike Nolan Show was created by Wright, Whear and Hollis and was broadcast on YouTube and Comedy Central Australia's website, premiering on June 10, 2016.[12]

The Mike Nolan Show takes the form of a mockumentary, wherein a film crew and interviewer follow The Big Lez Show character Mike Nolan around his day-to-day life. The show follows Mike in some of his various jobs, as well as showing him socialising with many never-before-seen characters. The show also features appearances from several other main characters of The Big Lez Show, such as Lez, Sassy, Donny and Clarence.[13] The events that take place in The Mike Nolan Show chronologically take place before the first episode of The Big Lez Show.[14]

The Big Lez Show Documentary[edit]

In late 2014 a 10-minute short documentary entitled The Big Lez Show Documentary was produced, directed by Jaykowa Hockings and produced by Natalie Howatson. The documentary interviews the show's three creators, where they go in depth about the show's conception, production and inspirations. The documentary also featured new specifically made animations, depicting some Choomahs playing in a metal band. The documentary was uploaded to YouTube on August 20, 2014 and as of May 2018 has over 55,000 views.

Production[edit]

The show is notable for its extremely low production value. The show is animated using stop motion animation, where individual frames are drawn in Microsoft Paint. Frames are edited together on Adobe Premiere and audio is recorded on Audacity. In seasons 1 and 2, frames were drawn using a laptop trackpad on an Australian government-issue school laptop[10] and since season 3 they have been drawn using a stylus on a Microsoft Surface. The frames are crudely drawn, freehand and have become a recognisable staple of the show.[15] The nature of the show's artwork also adds to the psychedelic influences of the show.

The show employs no outside personnel, Wright takes onboard all aspects of production, including writing, voice acting, animation, editing, music and distribution. Co-Writer Tom Hollis creates the Background art, helps with ideas for the show and also does a few of the characters voice's.[14] As a result of this, production is a very slow process, with individual episodes sometimes taking several months to create.[11] For seasons 1, 2 and 3 the majority of work was handled by Jarrad Wright. Wright still acts as the main writer however and performs the majority of the voices for the show.

The show's music is also written and performed by Wright, performed on acoustic guitar and recorded using Audacity.

Reception[edit]

The show has gained a following on YouTube, with its channel having over 585,000 subscribers and 68 million views as of May 2018. The show's popularity on YouTube is such that each episode is released to a viewership of 1-2 million within a couple of months of being uploaded.[3]

In addition the show's viewership on YouTube, The Big Lez Show has enjoyed great critical reception from many alternative media outlets and online reviewers. Vice Media has described the show as "sidesplittingly funny" and "DIY underground Australian cartoons which have taken over the world."[10] Stab Magazine said the show has "More laughs than South Park" in an interview with Wright and Whear and praised the show for the grassroots, word-of-mouth manner in which it has grown in popularity, without any commercial advertising.[9]

In a promotion for The Mike Nolan Show, Comedy Central Australia described Wright, Whear and Hollis as "some of Australia's freshest comedians and comedy-makers."[12] Pedestrian TV described the show as "utterly bewildering but equally brilliant."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "From class doodles to Comedy Central deals". Tweed Valley Weekly. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Turnbull, Samantha (26 September 2016). "Crude cartoons bring fame to Tweed Heads". ABC News. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Jones, Fionnuala (25 December 2016). "How three Aussie stoners got their own Comedy Central show and sold out two nights in Dublin". Newstalk. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c McKenzie, Daniel (19 September 2016). "Local animation picked up by Comedy Central". The Northern Star. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Adams, David (2 June 2016). "Cooked 'Big Lez' Spin-Off 'The Mike Nolan Show' Debuts Trailer". Pedestrian.TV. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Big Lez Show". Screenworks. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Big Lez Show Drops Unexpected Teaser Trailer". Triple M. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Brouwer, Bree (21 January 2015). "YouTube Network Channel Frederator Adds 102 New Channels, Hits 14.8 Million Combined Subscribers". Tubefilter. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Smith, Jed (6 April 2016). "The Big Lez Show: More Laughs Than South Park". Stab Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d Smith, Jed (29 July 2016). "The DIY Cartoons Exposing a Side of Australia We Know Exists but Don't Want to Talk About". Vice Media. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "The Creators of The Big Lez Show Name Their Top 10 Fav. Episodes". Comedy Central Australia. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "The Boys Behind The Big Lez Show Are Working On Our Next Local Commission!". Comedy Central Australia. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "Look Who It Is… First Cameo From The Big Lez Show Coming To This Weeks Ep Of The Mike Nolan Show…". Comedy Central Australia. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "Comedy Central Australia releases new Aussie animation series The Mike Nolan Show". DeciderTV. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  15. ^ MC, Andrew (22 September 2014). "No Brow art show yarns with The Big Lez Show". 4ZZZ. Retrieved 20 July 2017.