Time differences are a bitch.
“We will be at the Leicester Square Theatre on Wednesday Sept 27th at 9.30pm,” it said. “A lot has happened since your last blog on us! We now have 10 million views on our videos, have worked with Jason Mraz extensively, and have monthly shows in Hollywood at Second City, plus regular shows in New York.”
So I Skyped Nick and his wife Sarah Ann Masse at 4.00pm London time. But they live in Los Angeles. It was 8.00am there and they were still in bed.
“You have a new beard,” I said to Nick. “Is that permanent?”
“No,” he told me.
“We just,” Sarah explained, “filmed a caveman sketch, so he grew it for that. In the Bronson Caves in the middle of Los Angeles, where the Batman TV show was filmed.”
“The last 18 months,” said Nick, “we have had 10 million views.”
“How do you do that?” I asked. “I can’t do that.”
“I think something that is current helps,” Nick explained.
“We always,” Sarah added, “say there is no formula. But we have been able to replicate the success we had on 4th July now twice. We are British and American and a couple and we have put out these 4th July videos about Britain and America being awkward exes and people seem to respond. We are obviously well set-up to write those and maybe not a lot of people put out comedy videos for 4th July.”
“And you went viral on Facebook,” I said, “and all over the place.”
“This year,” Sarah replied, “a fan told us: They showed your videos at our town on a huge big screen before the fireworks display!” We were amazed. And we just did a comedy festival in Austin and a lot of people there told us: Oh! We watched your videos on 4th July at the party we were at! We seem to have tapped into something.
“But you really can’t predict what is going to be super-well-shared. One of the biggest hits we had besides the Britain-&-America one is the series called Feminist Fairy Tales. I think that just taps into something that matters to a lot of people. It only got about a million views, but it got a lot of press coverage.”
“The latest viral video,” Nick explained, “doubled our Likes on Facebook, but it has probably tripled our viewing figures. There is definitely some exponential curve where bit-by-slow-bit you can reach a broader audience and then I guess it starts to break out.”
Sarah added: “We got offered an audition the other day, straight to our email, from someone who seemingly had just seen our stuff online. We can see it IS having an effect on our career and moving us in the direction we want to go in.”
“Which is eastwards,” I said. “You are playing London and Paris.”
“And Madrid,” Nick added.
“And a secret show,” Sarah added, “just north of Amsterdam.”
“Why is it a secret?” I asked.
“Because,” said Sarah, “the location is undisclosed until you purchase tickets.”
“Ah!” I said.
“And, as well as our shows,” Nick said, “we are doing workshops for the Oxford Revue and also in London and in the Netherlands.”
“And in Madrid,” Sarah added. “We have three workshops that we teach and we create custom ones as well.”
“The three are?” I asked Nick.
“Producing Digital Comedy, Sketch Writing in The We Are Thomasse Style and Acting For Sketch. We also have an E-mail List now – subscribe.wearethomasse.com”
“One thing that will be interesting at Leicester Square,” said Sarah, “is that we met this 18-year-old beatboxer from London – Shamime Ibrahim.”
“Where?” I asked.
“At Jason Mraz’s big birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl. She came out on stage in front of 15,000 people and beatboxed and we were completely blown away.
“We became fast friends and she is going to open for us at our show in Leicester Square and do the beatbox music between each of our sketches.”
“As you know,” said Nick, “our sketches are very, very fast-paced.”
“That’s for sure,” I said.
“We do about 30 sketches in an hour,” said Sarah. “A good mix of British and American comedy and, in Leicester Square, we will be doing some of our viral videos live – some other things which have had millions of views.”
“You are also doing regular monthly shows at Second City in Hollywood,” I said.
“The third Thursday of every month,” said Nick. “They have three bases – Chicago, Montreal and LA.”
“What do you do at the Second City gigs?” I asked.
“A 45-minute show of 25 sketches,” explained Sarah. “We have been there for over a year now.”
“And you also do regular shows in New York?”
“We perform there,” she said, “4-6 times a year – at the People’s Improv Theater.”
“You used to live in New York,” I said.
“Yes,” said Sarah, “but our audiences there are now packed with strangers.”
Nick laughed: “As soon as we left New York, we were huge there!”
“Talking of being big,” I said. “How come this 18-year-old from London was performing at the Hollywood Bowl when you met her?”
“She had,” said Nick, “just finished her A-levels in London on the Wednesday morning, was on a plane to Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon and was performing to the crowd of 15,000 in Los Angeles on the Saturday.”
“That doesn’t quite explain how,” I said.
“We had,” he explained, “been making, producing and co-writing sketches with Jason Mraz to promote the Hollywood Bowl show.”
“Jason,” explained Sarah, “was recording and was talking to his producer and they decided they’d like some beatboxing and his producer said: Oh, you know, there’s a girl at school with my daughter. Let me see if I can find her. So she was at home doing her homework and, within hours, she was beatboxing with this Grammy Award winner at The Rhythm Studio in London.”
“The Rhythm Studio,” said Nick, “is also where we are going to be doing one of our London workshops.”
“Well plugged,” I said.
Then, I guess, they went back to sleep.